U.K. permanent jobs grow at fastest pace since May 2011: Survey

Temporary, contract positions hit 18-month high

LONDON (Reuters) — Permanent job placements in Britain rose for the first time since May, growing at their fastest pace in 17 months in October driven by employer confidence, according to a new survey.

The data also showed growth of temporary jobs reaching an 18-month high, with the sharpest rise in vacancies since June 2011, boosting recovery hopes after the economy came out of recession with one per cent growth in the third quarter.

The index measuring permanent job appointments hit its highest level since May 2011 at 55, the survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and consultancy KPMG showed.

Values above 50 show an increase compared to one month earlier.

Britain's labour market has proven surprisingly resilient over the past 12 months as firms kept creating jobs despite the weak economy. Unemployment has inched down and employment hit an all-time high in August.

In another sign that the improvement could continue, the index for temporary and contract staff billings rose to 54.5 to hit an 18-month high, the REC said.

"The sharpest rise in job vacancies in over a year shows employers are confident about their own businesses and, as they deal with increasing demand, are driving the momentum for more people finding work," said REC chief executive Kevin Green.

However, the economic recovery remains fraught with risks. British industrial output fell more sharply than expected in September and Purchasing Manager Indexes have been poor.

"It may not be leaps and bounds yet, in terms of progress, but these are the largest strides for some time and should not go un-noticed," KPMG head of business services Bernard Brown said about the improvement in the job market survey.

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