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20 April 2015, 06:00
The jobs market in Scotland continued to show signs of improvement last month, according to a report.
Demand for staff rose at a similar pace in March while starting salaries rose sharply, the latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs showed.
The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer stood at 60.6 in March, up from 59.8 in February, the highest reading in three months but below the index for the UK as a whole.
The barometer measures areas such as levels of staff demand, employment and wages to create a single-figure snapshot of labour market conditions.
The figure is measured against a baseline of 50, with anything above representing an improvement and anything below a deterioration.
Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "Conditions in the Scottish labour market continued to improve in March this year. The number of people appointed to jobs increased while the number of vacancies grew over the month.
"The rate of growth in starting salaries for permanent jobs recovered strongly from February's 15-month low. This barometer suggests the slowdown in growth in January to March will be reversed in the coming months.''
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "The Bank of Scotland report shows an improving labour market picture for the 53rd consecutive month, with demand for permanent staff continuing to increase.
"The report comes at a time when the Office for National Statistics figures published last week show that Scotland's jobs market is performing well across a range of measures.
"They showed participation in Scotland's labour market is at a record high, and Scotland currently has the highest employment rate and lowest inactivity rate of all four UK nations.''