Demand for permanent staff in the UK declined last month, new figures suggest.

According to the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG survey, permanent placements continued to fall and temporary positions rose at their weakest pace in five months.

Commenting on the findings, REC chief executive Kevin Green said they are the "first major sign" that the country’s slowing economy is starting to have a major impact on jobs.

He commented: "The decline in the demand for permanent staff for the first time in five years indicates that employers are hesitating before making recruitment decisions."

Meanwhile, KPMG director Alan Nolan described the study’s results as "sobering", adding they appear to show the credit crunch has "finally taken its toll".

Recently, business development firm SFL advised firms that strong leadership from bosses can make the difference between success and failure during times of economic turbulence.