PAYE umbrella contractors working in the IT skills market will be cheered by a new survey produced for the website CWJobs, which reveals that demand for IT professionals rose consistently over the last six quarters.

Commenting on the data, CWJobs’ director, Richard Nott, said that the IT market is “continuing to stabilise,” which is encouraging news for all who make their living through IT contracting. In Q2 and Q3 last year, growth hit 8 per cent and continued rising in Q4, when it reached 5 per cent. 2011 is likely to see continued growth in the sector throughout the year. Even so, Mr Nott cautioned against excessive optimism – the figures are still considerably lower than those seen before the recession hit and a full recovery in the market for IT jobs is still some way off.

The survey coincides with decidedly more gloomy research from GfK NOP, which shows that consumer confidence fell sharply during April, reaching a score of -31 on the index. This is only the third time in the index’s 37 year history that consumer confidence has fallen below -30. The sharpest decline measured was in people’s confidence about their personal finances, which fell to -23 over the last year. It remains negative in outlook for the forthcoming year at -14.

The Managing Director of GfK NOP Social Research, Nick Moon, said that the drop in confidence was bad news for both the government and the economy. The Chancellor’s attempts to spur economic growth in the March budget do not appear to have convinced the public. Mr Moon expressed his concern that, as all five measures of consumer confidence showed a decline, a double dip recession remains a real possibility.

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