Conditions have never been tougher for jobseekers, with the number of applicants chasing work reaching a 20-month high, according to new research.
Recruitment website totaljobs.com said there was a "two speed" labour market, with some sectors such as property, electronics and sales seeing a jobs improvement, while others, especially the public sector, suffering "significant" decreases.
The report was published ahead of the latest unemployment figures by the Office for National Statistics, the last set of official jobless data before the General Election.
Totaljobs said there had been a 1% increase in jobs posted on its site over the past few months, but there had been a 25% fall in vacancies since a year ago.
The number of job applications had soared by almost a third, with 12 applicants for every job, the highest for 20 months.
John Salt, a director at totaljobs.com, said: "This quarter presents a tale of two stories. We are beginning to see certain sectors planning for increased consumer spending as we come out of the recession, such as sales and customer services.
"However, the number of jobs posted in the public sector reveals a hidden issue. With the current political debate on public sector spending cuts, the long term issue of a talent exodus out of the public sector is real. Not only do these workers provide the frontline services upon which we all depend but the strength of the public sector has contributed to an era of growth for the UK in recent years, levelling out other sectors that have faltered."
The last set of unemployment figures fell, and Mr Salt said the short term picture was "very positive", although he was more cautious about the long term, adding: "Increased confidence in the job market means that competition for jobs has never been so fierce."
Another report showed that the number of firms doing business on the internet has increased markedly since the recession started towards the end of 2008.
More than 25,000 businesses have registered on sales website eBay since the end of 2008, an increase of 18%, taking the total number to 140,000.