New research from recruitment specialist Reed has suggested that the British private sector generated an increased number of jobs in January, but growth remained muted due to the ongoing weakness of the economy.

January's Reed Job Index report revealed that 104,740 vacancies were posted over the course of last month – nine per cent above December's figure of 96,504 – with fewer than half the number public sector roles up for grabs than there were a year ago.

"Employers right across the private sector are confident enough to recruit new staff," said managing director Martin Warnes. "Flat salaries make this a good time for them to attract the talented people they need."

The average salary among the new positions advertised stood at £33,039 – unchanged from December and down one per cent in real terms – although some sectors including retail, banking and marketing saw pay increases.

Last week, the GMB trade union accused the government of being "in denial" over unemployment, claiming that young job seekers are being particularly badly affected by the lingering after-effects of the downturn.

Posted by Ross George