Competition for jobs 'easing' in UK
Competition for jobs has eased after an increase in vacancies, although there is a huge disparity between parts of the south and north of Britain, according to a new study.
In some parts of the South East there is fewer than one jobseeker per vacancy, but more than six are chasing every post in Scotland, the research found.
Jobs search engine Adzuna said there were more than half a million vacancies in the economy, up by 2.5% on a year ago, suggesting employment will increase in the coming months.
Almost half of all vacancies were in London and the South East, with just 1.7% in Wales and 3.3% in the North East, said the report.
The biggest increase in new jobs last month was in manufacturing and legal services, although there was also a slight rise in construction.
The average advertised salary last month was £33,414, 2.1% lower than a year ago, equating to a drop of more than £700 over the year. Factoring in inflation, wages are down £1,670 in real terms from last year, said Adzuna.
Flora Lowther, head of research at Adzuna, said: "The labour market may appear to be making strides towards improved health, but underneath the surface lie several areas of concern.
"The narrowing north-south divide in job creation does not disguise the regional disparity, with new vacancies skewed disproportionately towards the South East. Competition for jobs remains tough in the North, with its economic recovery lagging behind most other parts of the country.
"In Wales, although competition has eased since December 2012, the average salary on offer has fallen by £2,300 a year over the same period, although with inflation running at 2.9% the real-term fall in wages is well above this figure.
"Lower competition may attract further jobseekers to the region, but the drop in wages could well send them running to other parts of the UK where there are more jobs on offer, and where wage growth is far more positive."