OXFORD remains one of the best places to find a job in the country despite the latest surge in unemployment, according to a new survey.

According to the job search website adzuna.co.uk, there are just 2.57 people claiming unemployment benefit for every job vacancy in the city, compared to 45.46 claimants per vacancy in bottom-placed Hull.

Kate Allen, of Oxford recruitment agency Allen Associates, said the market was beginning to look more buoyant.

She said the number of temporary jobs on offer had increased 30 per cent since 2008.

And temporary-to-permanent posts have increased by 23 per cent.

Permanent positions on offer had increased by 15.5 per cent since last year, following a 25 per cent slump at the height of the recession.

Ms Allen said: “We are seeing steady and sustained growth back up to pre-recession levels.

“We think companies are still a little bit cautious, so they are going down the route of taking people on in temporary positions, waiting until they prove themselves, and then taking them on permanently.”

She added: “What has really taken us by surprise is that people are being counter-offered, taking their time to make up their mind because they have more than one different offer, and sometimes offers are being turned down for something better.

“It seems candidates are now picking and choosing.

“It is not just those who are out of work who are looking, but also those in work looking to be better paid or for a better role.”

She said marketing roles, which were hit hardest by the recession, were now becoming a growth area again.

The survey came as the British economy faced more dire news, with official figures showing that unemployment rose by 38,000 people in the three months to June, leaving the jobless rate at 2.49 million or 7.9 per cent.

In Oxfordshire, there are 7,890 people out of work and claiming benefit, 460 more than last year.

Economists had expected the unemployment rate to fall.

Melanie Magee, who is organising an Oxford City Council youth jobs fair at the Town Hall in St Aldate’s today, said employers were keen to recruit.

She said: “We have got some quite big companies, and some of them have found it quite difficult to find candidates for roles.

“Some have held open days and could not fill all their apprenticeships.

High Street trader Graham Jones, from Oxford traders’ association Rox, said: “Oxford is robust, and is holding up pretty well.

“I don’t know if companies are recruiting new staff in retail at the moment, but they are holding on to people and replacing them when they have to.”

He added: “I think everybody is quietly hoping that things will pick up.

“The worst of the cuts have not really happened yet, so we will just keep watching and hoping we will get through.”