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Executive jobs up 23pc

THE number of professional job opportunities in December recorded an annual 23pc increase, the first rise since February 2008.

The jobs market is generally showing signs of improvement as a further 80 jobs have been created at CPM, the field marketing company.

During December, the number of jobs for professionals rose by 3pc compared to November.

Premier Group employment monitor said the December figures provide hope that the bottom of the market has been reached as an additional 4,587 new jobs were recorded.

Brian Murphy, managing director of Premier Group in Ireland, noted that seasonal factors had an impact on the results but the number of job vacancies last month held up well.

"As the year comes to a close many employers put hiring on hold until January so the increase was a very welcome and hopefully positive sign that 2010 may herald better times for professionals seeking new opportunities in Ireland," he said.

"The increase from December 2008 to December 2009 brought to an end a sequence of 21 consecutive months of year-on-year monthly declines in new job numbers."

Meanwhile, separate figures published by recruitment firm Sigmar show that there was a 29pc increase in job placements in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the previous quarter which was the first quarterly growth in 18 months.