No end to jobs boom in final months of 2012

Ben Southwood
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THE LABOUR market continued its boom into November, with private sector demand more than offsetting public sector slack.

Placements and vacancies rose at accelerated rates in the second to last month of the year, according to a survey by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation released yesterday. The bullish data came despite many analysts believing the economy has sunk back into contraction in the fourth quarter.

The index for permanent employment climbed to 56, from 55 in October, a 19-month high, and further above the 50 mark – suggesting faster improvement in the permanent sector of the labour market. The picture for temporary jobs was even more cheery, with the index hitting 57.4, a 20-month high, up from 54.5 in October.

And all this improvement happened even while firms were rapidly listing more vacancies. The index for permanent vacancies hit 57, while the figure for temporary places was 56.4, leading to an overall figure of 56.9 – another 19-month high.

“Twelve months ago employment prospects were bleak,” said Bernard Brown at KPMG. “Today, however, the negative outlook has been replaced by cautious optimism as employers gain confidence to make decisions about the vacancies they want to fill.”

These upbeat conditions will continue into 2013, according to the employment outlook survey from ManpowerGroup. Six percentage points more employers surveyed by the human resources firm said they planned to boost employment in the first three months of next year, than said they would reduce their staff.

And engineering contractors surveyed by Giant said they thought this boost could involve the resurgent car market. Twenty three per cent thought job opportunities in the automotive sector would be growing over the coming 12 months, versus just 10 per cent this time last year.