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21 July 2014, 06:42
The number of jobseekers in Scotland has fallen sharply, according to a new report.
The Bank of Scotland's labour market barometer for June registered the steepest drop in people searching for permanent employment since the survey began in 2003.
Salary inflation also reached a record high, driven by a surge in demand for staff coupled with the fall in candidate numbers.
Permanent and temporary job appointments increased at a faster rate in line with an upturn in the number of vacancies, the report found.
The findings highlight the "growing pressure'' in Scotland's labour market, the bank said.
Its labour market barometer reached a survey-record high of 65.1 in June, up from 61.8 in May and marking the first increase since February.
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 50 representing an improvement and anything below a deterioration.
Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "June's barometer reached a record high in the eleven and a half years of the survey.
"The number of people appointed to jobs increased while vacancies grew at a robust rate.
"The number of candidates available for both permanent and temporary jobs fell accompanied by a record rise in starting salaries.
"The recovery in the Scottish economy looks set to continue.''
The rise in demand for permanent staff was highest in the accounting and financial sector, with temporary job vacancies highest in nursing, medical and care.
Edinburgh led the growth in permanent placements for a second month running, while Glasgow experienced the sharpest increase in permanent salaries.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said the research showed the "sustained improvement in Scottish labour market conditions''.
He added: "This report follows on from last week's positive GDP and labour market figures, which showed that Scotland's economy is now back above pre-recession levels and employment levels are at their highest since records began, with 2,587,000 people now employed in Scotland.
"While the survey highlights salary inflation, we have to remember that this is against a backdrop of real wages falling continuously over the last six years and average pay in Scotland falling back to 2005 levels.
"It is essential that everyone is able to benefit from our new economic growth and with the full economic powers of independence there is much more we could do to further strengthen our economy and give business access to the human skills they need to grow and to create even more jobs.''