Recovery hopes stoked as jobs market posts a record surge

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The Independent Online

The jobs market is at its healthiest since 2008 following a record surge in new positions being made available by employers, according to recruitment giant Reed.

The latest Reed Job Index, which is compiled using data from more than 10,000 employers, shows there were 8 per cent more opportunities on offer in May than in April. Annually, the growth in new positions stands at over 17 per cent.

What's more, Reed said that this surge in new positions came from all parts of the UK rather than being concentrated in the traditionally more buoyant areas such as London and the South East. The group added that there were more opportunities for jobseekers in over 90 per cent of the UK's employment sectors last month compared with April, with one in four sectors making over 10 per cent more jobs available.

The Reed Job Index now stands at 165, compared with 153 last month and 141 in March 2012. The bright picture is across the UK, with on average 8 per cent more positions on offer in every region compared with last month.

On an annual basis, only one region – Northern Ireland – remains behind where it was this time last year. Commenting on the latest figures, James Reed, chairman of Reed, said: "In line with the season, the jobs market has bloomed this spring after steadying in April. We are particularly encouraged by the fact that the majority of employment sectors are showing growth. With the latest service-sector and house-price data starting to indicate the wider health of the economy picking up of late, we are starting to see the tentative recovery very much being led by the buoyant jobs market."

Mr Reed added that it would be "interesting" to see whether this buoyant jobs picture would be mirrored in the forthcoming second-quarter GDP figures. UK growth in the last quarter exceeded analysts' forecasts.

The positive news from Reed was echoed by credit reference agency Experian, which has found that business insolvency rates in the UK have stayed steady for the first time since 2007, before the global financial crisis. Just 0.08 per cent of UK businesses failed in the three months to the end of April.

There has been an improvement over the last year – 12 months ago the insolvency rate was 0.09 per cent. There were some stark regional differences with 0.1 per cent of businesses in the North East and Yorkshire failing while just 0.03 per cent in Scotland.

Max Firth, managing director ofExperian Business Information Services, UK and Ireland, said: "We've seen that the insolvency rate has been decreasing for some time, but the fact that it is staying low is encouraging news.

"It's particularly pleasing to see that companies at both ends of the supply chain are improving all the time."