A record number of jobs are on offer - but if you are young or middle-aged and looking for work, you may be out of luck. Vacancies and job placements by the Labour Department reached a single-month record in March. But the department will be boosting efforts to ease unemployment among the young and middle-aged, which remains obstinately high, said Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, permanent secretary for Economic Development and Labour. The department was advised of 35,970 job vacancies by private companies in March - up by nearly half on the previous month's figure of 24,112. It placed 8,254 people in work - 21 per cent more than in the same month last year. The previous record for vacancies was 29,505 last August. For placements, it was 8,154 last October. Most of the vacancies were in the business services, catering and trading sectors. 'All these indicators point to a reviving and improved labour market,' Mr Cheung said. That most employers had given pay rises this year - particularly those in the financial services, retail and hotels sectors - was a good sign, he said. While the lower-paid had not yet seen their incomes rise, 'it's pleasing to see there have been no more salary freezes or pay cuts', Mr Cheung said. Youth unemployment stood at 12,000 in March, while 58,000 middle-aged were out of work. Overall unemployment fell to a three-year low of 6.1 per cent in February. The department will put to the Legislative Council this month a new trial employment scheme aimed at the long-term, middle-aged unemployed.