SCOTLAND continues to outperform the UK for job growth, according to a report, despite the number of permanent employment positions falling.

The report on jobs by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)stated that permanent staff appointments fell for the third consecutive month in September, and at the fastest rate since January 2017.

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Temporary billings grew sharply and for the third month in a row, as there were further signs of employers taking on short-term staff to fulfil roles.

Meanwhile, permanent and temporary candidate availability deteriorated sharply. Falling labour supply continued to place upward pressure on pay. However, vacancy growth slowed in September.

Recruitment agencies in Scotland highlighted a solid fall in permanent placements in September, which extended the current sequence of contraction to three months.

Furthermore, the latest reduction was the fastest for over two-and-a-half years. At the national level, permanent placements fell at a modest pace. Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at RBS, said: “Latest survey data highlighted a contraction in permanent placements in Scotland for the third month in a row, with the fall accelerating to the sharpest since January 2017.

“Growth of demand for permanent staff eased further; the increase in September was the slowest in six-and-a-half years, indicating further softening of the labour market.

“Meanwhile, temporary staff billings continued to rise, with growth in Scotland outperforming the UK as a whole for the third month running.

“Overall, September data showed little signs of a recovery, with the Scottish labour market registering a relatively subdued performance in the context of historical data. Moreover, uncertainty continues to weigh on hiring decisions, with firms turning to short-term staff to fill vacancies until there is greater clarity around Brexit.”

Temporary staff billings across Scotland rose at a softer, albeit still sharp, rate during September. Temporary staff vacancies in Scotland also increased in September, although here, a softer expansion was also apparent.

Although sharp overall, the rate of growth in Scotland softened to a five-month low.