Rise in temp jobs, vacancies bode well for UK labour market -REC

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Temporary job placements inBritain rose at the fastest pace in 14 months in September asdemand for new staff picked up, a survey showed on Monday,providing fresh signs of resilience in the British labourmarket.

A rise in employment over the past year has been one of thefew bright spots in an economy that fell back into recession atthe end of last year.

The index for temporary and contract staff billings rose to52.6, pointing to the sharpest rate of expansion since July2011, the survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation(REC) and consultancy KPMG showed.

Values above 50 show an increase in the number of billingscompared to a month earlier, values below point to a fall.

The index measuring permanent job appointments hit itshighest level since May at 49.7, indicating only a minimalmonthly dip in permanent hiring, the REC said. Job vacanciesrose at the fastest pace since August 2011.

"It must be hugely encouraging for job seekers to seefigures suggesting that demand for staff is on the increase,"said Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services atKPMG.

"Add to this news that permanent roles are stabilising andtemporary positions have seen another month of growth and itwould be easy to assume that the corner is being turned," headded.

Most economists reckon the British economy returned togrowth last quarter. But some surveys have pointed to renewedweakness ahead, stoking fears that unemployment would soon riseagain.

"We know that confidence is fragile," said Kevin Green, RECChief Executive. "A big external shock could derail us from thispromising course."

(Reporting By Peter Schwartzstein)