Employment prospects in the UK appear to be better than those implied by official figures, according to a monthly survey from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation and accountants KPMG.
The survey found that employers ramped up the pace of their hirings during May, helping the growth in staff appointments, both permanent and temporary, to hit a 19-month high.
"The fact that growth in both the permanent and temporary sector has accelerated confirms that the UK labour market is in good health," said Gareth Osborne, the REC's managing director.
That finding appears to be at odds to the one presented by the office for National Statistics.
In its last figures for April, the claimant count measure of unemployment hit a three year high, having risen for 13 of the last 14 months.
The permanent placement index, which measures employment agency successes, jumped to 57.4 in May from 55.2 in April -- the highest since October 2004, and well above the 50.0 level that separates growth from contraction.
The temporary staff placements index also showed growth at a 19-month high at 58.4 from 54.7 in April. The report also showed that a fall in the number of people available to work drove up wage inflation last month, with the gauge of full-time pay growth shooting up to 59.0 in May from 57.2 - the highest reading since April 2005.
The index of temporary workers' pay growth, meanwhile, bounced to a six-month high of 56.6 versus 54.7 in April.
That is likely to worry policymakers who have been concerned that rising wage bills will put futher pressure on inflation.
"On the negative side, skills shortages continue to be a main concern and will continue to drive pay inflation," Mr Osborne said.
Renu Birla, people services director at KPMG in Birmingham, said: "The mismatch between the vacancies and candidates available to fill those vacancies has reappeared, a turnaround from the previous month where the issue seemed to be subsiding. "The data suggests that the lack of skilled candidates is likely to get worse over the coming months.
"However, in the hotel and catering sector, demand has contracted over the past year, in contrast to IT and computing where there has been an equivalent increase for permanent staff. This is putting significant pressure on employers to offer more to attract the right candidates and retain those employees they already have, coupled with pressure to reduce costs generally.
"Employers should ensure both they and their employees are maximising value for money in respect of their remuneration packages."