While it is indisputable that recent flooding across the UK has been distressing and damaging to homes and businesses alike, it appears to have had a silver lining: Umbrella Company Employees contracting in the construction sector have seen the best hiring levels in six years, largely to repair the damage caused by the recent severe weather.

So says the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, which polled 2,112 employers about their hiring intentions this year. The net employment outlook amongst construction sector employers stood in negative territory (-6%) in Q1; however, hiring intentions for Q2 have soared, with an outlook of +2% for new staff recruitment. This is the first time the sector has posted a positive figure since the downturn kicked in in 2008.

The flooding also appears to have boosted hiring intentions in other areas, notably agriculture, forestry and fishing (up by 15%) and utilities (up by 10%). The average figure for all sectors monitored in the survey was 6%, which was a slight increase on the 5% recorded in Q1.

All geographical areas in the UK have posted positive figures with the exception of Northern Ireland, where hiring intentions stood at -4%. Hiring in London closely reflected the national average at +5%, but the North East and Wales showed the strongest increases at 11% and 12% respectively.

Mark Cahill, MD of Manpower UK and Ireland, said: “We may get some bumps in the road but this is a real turning point for the jobs market. It’s well and truly getting back to the level it was at before the recession.”

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