The construction jobs sector has seen a a surprise growth in construction job vacancies with a 22% increase in jobs available compared to 2010, pointing to possible early beginnings of a labour market recovery says figures released by

Overall, the number of jobs continued to steady out, following a drop in late 2010 to 122,809 in June this year. The positive finish to the quarter was even more commendable given the 7% decrease charted in April when compared to the same month in 2010, following the long Easter break and the Royal wedding.

Analysis of recruiter and jobseeker activity shows that possible upturns in the labour market is driving jobseekers to flood the market, with competition for jobs rising to a peak of 17 applications per job in Q2 2011, a rise from 12 in the same period in 2010.

The Totaljobs Barometer provides one of the most comprehensive representations of supply and demand in the UK job market, and is broken down across 32 sectors. With around 3.6 million jobseeker visitors each month, today’s figures provide an indication of how UK recruitment is faring as the economy struggles for growth.

John Salt, Director at commented on the figures:

“We’re starting to see the beginnings of a possible upturn in the labour market, with a second quarter of continued steadying out in terms of the number of jobs being posted by employers. However, big changes will not happen overnight and we anticipate further small peaks and troughs before a full recovery. It’s great news to see that sectors such as construction are beginning to show signs of recovery as it is these sectors that typically indicate the beginnings of economic recovery.”

“Our forecast for the third quarter is for a small dip in the availability of jobs due to the summer holiday period, but overall, I am confident that the recovery will continue slowly and we can look forward to a period of solid growth. Our advice for jobseekers is to remain confident and focus their applications by spending time on a targeted few, rather than applying in mass.”

Double-digit growth indicates recovery

Sector comparisons reveal that electronics and engineering, along with construction are the key areas which have seen an increase in jobs posted when compared to the same period in 2010. Both the electronics and engineering industries chart a 20% increase in jobs posted indicating that the arguably weak pound is helping to drive more UK exports via increased demand from overseas orders. However, some sectors are still struggling, with areas typically associated with the public sector, such as social services (-41%) and education (-20%) as well as the third sector (-22%) all charting a decrease in jobs posted in the same period.

Looking deeper into sector analysis, increases in job postings in some areas are unable to offset the rise in the number of applications. As a result, competition seen in frontline sectors such as nursing (16%) and education (13%) has risen significantly in Q2 compared to the first quarter of the year. In the private sector, the legal industry has seen an increase in competition for jobs of 18% compared to the first quarter of the year. Finally, graduates continue to suffer, even before the influx of this year’s university leavers beginning to job-hunt, with an increase of 16% in the competition for job roles when compared to Q1 2011.

The north-south divide

The supply of jobs across the country is seen to be levelling out with the strongest year-on-year recoveries seen in the West Midlands and the North East, both of which have charted an increase of 10% in the number of jobs posted compared to 2010. Indeed, it is these areas, particularly the North East that seems to be pushing a recovery, with the growth in construction seen as a key driver of year on year growth in the region.

Despite an increase in the supply of jobs, particularly in the north, competition for each post continues to vary across locations in the UK. Jobseekers in cities such as Liverpool, Hull and Manchester will be feeling the pinch most, with jobs posted compared to last year down 5%, 3% and 9% respectively. Not only this, but applications have risen in these areas by 81%, 71%, 50% respectively year on year making these cities the most competitive for jobs in the UK.