The number of temporary staff placements rose in December 2016, marking positive news for the UK contractor community.

The Markit/REC Report on Jobs, which looks at statistics from across the UK labour market each month, found that temp billings increased at a sharp and accelerated pace – the fastest seen since April.

Temporary worker and contractor availability also fell at the quickest rate in four months – possibly indicative of more contractors finding placements and work.

Rates of pay also increased in the temporary space – at the fastest pace since May 2016.

In terms of geography, the region with the fastest rate of growth for short-term contract staff was the North, while contractors based in Scotland will be pleased to hear that the first increase in four months took place there in December 2016.

There was also a significant leap in the demand for short-term staff in the public sector – possibly due to the current exodus of contractors due to the confirmation of the government’s IR35 reforms.

“The jobs market continues to beat expectations as we begin the New Year,” said REC Chief Executive Kevin Green.More people are finding jobs each month, and demand for staff is growing. We’ve seen two months of growth in London, which is particularly encouraging following a difficult period between the EU referendum and October.”