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UK job prospects are picking up tentatively

UK employers are reporting stronger job prospects, showing the first positive signs since the start of the economic downturn.

Recruitment firm Manpower is predicting a 2% rise in hiring from October to December this year, with 80% of firms saying no redundancies are planned for this period.

The survey of 1,200 employers shows four out of nine sectors predicting positive hiring prospects for the quarter ahead. Employers in the north east of the country are reporting an outlook of +8% in recruitment.

In the utilities sector the recruitment outlook is +7% and the finance sector's outlook of +1% marks the first predicted increase in recruitment in this sector for five quarters.

Mark Cahill, managing director at Manpower UK, said: "There are a number of early positive hiring indicators emerging, from employers in sectors including finance and business services, public and social, and construction, which suggest we may have reached a turning point.

"France, Germany and Japan have already stepped forward and declared themselves officially out of recession.  If the UK is to mirror this recovery and retain its prominent position within the global business arena, it is essential that employers embrace temporary labour. Indeed, a well-managed, complementary, flexible workforce will, for many businesses, be a safe and prudent choice as they pull out of this downturn."

And Alan Clarke, UK economist at BNP Paribas, added: "The labour market situation is still weak, but the survey provides tentative signs that we are now headed in a more positive direction. The improvement in outlook is consistent with the impressive rebound seen in a number of leading indicators of economic activity in recent months."

But the outlook for transport was down at -10% and for the hotel and restaurant industries it is predicted to be -7%.