The demand for permanent staff rose last month, with the IT sector showing the strongest rate of growth, according to a new report.

Demand for contract IT staff also grew, according to the report by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, based on a survey of 400 UK recruitment consultants.

The report uses a figure to represent demand, where anything below 50 indicates a drop on the previous month.

In January, the figure for permanent IT staff was 67.7. This was the sixth consecutive month of growth, and was greater than the previous month's figure of 65.7.

It was also a significant improvement compared with January 2009, when demand had dropped severely and the figure was 32.2.

The demand for contract IT staff had also increased since December, reaching 58.7. The IT sector had the second strongest growth, after the demand for temporary secretarial and clerical staff (61.9).

Although the report suggested that businesses in the private sector are now on the "long road" to recovery, this is not the case for the public sector.

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, said: "The starting gun for the public sector recession has only just been fired and its impact on the jobs market will be felt over the next 12 to 18 months."