Job openings in London's financial services industry rose to their highest level in a year during October, according to a survey by the Morgan McKinley recruitment firm.

The number of openings climbed 15%, to 4,410, the most in any month since October 2008, the London-based company said Wednesday.

"The City [financial district] jobs market has seen and continues to see a general trend of improvement," Andrew Evans, managing director of Morgan McKinley's financial-services unit, said in a statement. "Progress has been slow and somewhat unsteady over the course of 2009, but hiring within London's financial services sector is following an upward trend."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is trying to revive the recession-mired economy in time for an election that must be held by June.

The Office for National Statistics said today that U.K. claims for jobless benefits in October rose at the slowest pace in 18 months, bolstering Brown's claim that measures to lift the economy are working.

"London financial institutions are as a rule hiring," said Shaun Springer, the chief executive officer of Square Mile Services Ltd., which advises London financial companies on pay. "Certainly the employment market has much improved."

The average salary reported in the Morgan McKinley survey fell 1.5% in October, to $85,639.

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