The Office for National Statistics suggests that the UK has officially hit a double-dip recession, but PAYE umbrella contractors concerned about their future prospects might feel a little more optimistic after a quick scan through the latest Reed Job Index. Job opportunities actually grew by 7% in April compared to the same time last year, the Index reveals, even while the economy as a whole appeared to shrink.

The Easter holidays artificially depressed the figures for April, which appeared to be 6% down on March as a result; even so, a third of the UK’s main economic sectors scored well above the average score of 134 for the month. Engineering did extraordinarily well, scoring 233, and so did accountancy, with a score of 154. Those who make their living through IT contracting, though, will be pleased to find that their sector scored a robust 174 points on the Index.

Despite the Easter break, candidates seeking opportunities in the energy sector saw a 25% hike on the figures recorded for March. This is 50% higher than the equivalent figure for April 2011.

Although Easter created the illusion of a temporary slowdown, Reed’s managing director, Martin Warnes, said that, in total, this year’s figures were 7% higher than those for last year.

He added: “The creation of new jobs in growth areas, such as energy, engineering and automotive, is helping give the recovery the momentum it needs. But with the high tax burden on employers recruiting new staff, now is the time for policy makers to ensure the path to a jobs-led recovery is a smooth one.”

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