The jobs market is bouncing back with a rise in the number of vacancies advertised so far this year, according to Adecco, the UK’s largest recruiter by revenue.

After a drop in the second half of last year, 2012 had got off to an unexpectedly positive start, the company said. The majority of sectors recorded increases in vacancies advertised in January compared with last year.

Financial services, accountancy and telecommunications showed particularly positive growth. The public sector also showed cautious signs of growth after cuts throughout 2011.

The figures come on top of other economic data and surveys suggesting that services, manufacturing and retail sales are picking up, though there was a big drop in business investment in last year’s final quarter.

Steven Kirkpatrick, Adecco UK’s managing director, said: “This is a positive step, although only time will tell whether it represents a genuine rise in confidence for 2012, or whether companies are simply testing the water to see what talent is out there as they enter a new year.”

He added: “While the improvements in the public sector are minimal, it’s encouraging to see any progress at all in a sector which has seen such large budget cuts in recent months. Meanwhile, the retail sector looks poised for a comeback after a difficult Christmas period.”

In late 2011, human resources and information technology were the only sectors showing tentative growth, but these were beginning to be outstripped by others, Adecco said.

In retail, permanent vacancies rose, suggesting longer-term confidence, whereas temporary vacancies showed their usual post-Christmas decline.

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