Growth in our permanent recruitment business remains positive in the quarter, up 5% over the prior-year in constant currency. We experienced strong growth in recruitment fees in the Americas and Southern Europe with modest contraction in Northern Europe and Asia-Pacific, Middle East segments. Permanent recruitment fees as a percent of overall gross profit expanded 60 basis points to 13.5%.
SG&A cost decreased from $772 million in the first quarter of last year to $754 million this year. Of this reduction, $60 million relates to the change in exchange rates between periods and $8 million related to cost savings from the reorganizational plan we put in place in the fourth quarter of last year. As we recall, we took a charge of $20.5 million in the fourth quarter, we are already exceeding the savings expected under that plan.