UK labour market enters "freefall" after Brexit vote, REC says

LONDON, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Britain’s labour market entered “freefall” after the vote to leave the European Union, with the number of permanent jobs placed by recruitment firms last month falling at the fastest pace since May 2009, a survey showed on Friday.

The monthly report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) showed starting salaries for permanent jobs rose in July at the slowest pace in more than three years.

Overall, the survey added to evidence that business confidence and activity slowed sharply after the June 23 vote to leave the European.

“The UK jobs market suffered a dramatic freefall in July, with permanent hiring dropping to levels not seen since the recession of 2009,” said REC chief executive Kevin Green. “Economic turbulence following the vote to leave the EU is undoubtedly the root cause.”

The survey suggested businesses were focusing more on hiring short-term staff because of the uncertainty.

Green said it was important not jump to conclusions from a single month’s data.

“The truth is we don’t know what long-term consequences the referendum result will have on UK jobs,” Green said, pointing out that political stability and Bank of England action might bolster confidence in the labour market.

The Bank of England cut interest rates to next to nothing on Thursday and unleashed billions of pounds of stimulus to cushion the economic shock from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. (Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by Larry King)