The number of people placed in permanent jobs in Britain grew at its fastest pace in nine months in February, a survey of recruitment agencies showed on Wednesday, chiming with a raft of recent news suggesting that the economy is on the mend. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said its monthly index of permanent staff placements rose for the second month running to 53.2 from 51.2 in January. Readings above 50 indicate growth. Overall demand for staff rose at the quickest pace in four months, led by a sharp increase in permanent job openings.

"The latest report raises hopes of a spring revival in the jobs market," said Bernard Brown, head of business services at accountants KPMG, who co-sponsor the survey.

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