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Hopes that the UK's IT jobs market might be making a recovery were dashed today following confirmation that the number of vacancies suffered their worst drop since the economic slowdown began 18 months ago.

The number of vacancies slumped 38 per cent in the last three months of 2002 according to the CWJobs UK Quarterly Regional IT Skills Index.

It seems the dip has put an end to hopes for an early recovery in the IT jobs markets, especially after earlier figures suggested that the rate of decline was slowing down.

The East Midlands was the worst hit region in Q4 2002, with the number of vacancies dropping by 45 per cent, closely followed by the West and Wales (43 per cent).

Overall, all regions suffered a fall in available jobs with every part of the UK seeing over a third less IT jobs advertised than in Q3 2002.

For the whole of 2002, the IT jobs market fell by 76 per cent. The Midlands suffered an 80 per cent fall in IT job vacancies while Central London racked up a 62 per cent decline in advertised IT vacancies.

Nigel Sterndale, publisher at CWJobs said: "While these statistics paint a worrying picture for the IT jobs market, it is important to remember the seasonal influence on these figures - the run up to Christmas is traditionally very slow for the recruitment industry as a whole.

"We have seen recruiter confidence rise significantly since the New Year and the market is looking much healthier for IT job hunters," he said. Which is nice. ®

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