Decline in U.K. job placements eases in August: Survey

First rise in temporary, contract employment in 9 months
By Peter Schwartzstein
||Last Updated: 09/11/2012

LONDON (Reuters) — The decline in permanent job placements in Britain slowed in August and companies stepped up the hiring of temporary workers, according to a survey.

British businesses have continued to create jobs over the past year, although the economy has been officially in recession, and unemployment has inched lower.

The indicator for permanent placements — based on a survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and consultancy KPMG — rose to 48.4 from 47.3 in July, with a reading below 50 still pointing to a decline in placements.

But recruitment agencies reported the first rise in temporary and contract employment in nine months, the REC said.

"This month's data shows yet again the remarkable level of resilience within the U.K. labour market as it continues to outperform predictions," REC chief executive Kevin Green said.

London again recorded the sharpest contraction in permanent placements. The REC had said last month that some firms had decided to delay recruitment throughout the Olympic period.

The survey, however, found a number of encouraging signs throughout the country.

"It would be easy to suggest that an upward curve in the jobs market is nothing more than a blip," said Bernard Brown, KPMG's head of business services. "But in some parts of the country, we are actually seeing a growth in the number of companies recruiting and where there is a decline it is now virtually insignificant."

"It may be slow, but perhaps we are witnessing the first signs of recovery?" he added.

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