Monster: Online jobs recruiting continues to slide

NEW YORK —The Monster Employment Index fell 4 points in March, and is now down 29 percent year-over-year, indicating a continued slowdown in online recruiting at the end of the first quarter of 2009.

The Monster Employment Index is a monthly gauge of U.S. online job demand based on a real-time review of millions of employer job opportunities culled from a large representative selection of corporate career web sites and job boards, including Monster.

During March, online job availability rose in three of the Index’s 20 industry categories and six of the 23 occupational categories measured.

"The decline in U.S. online recruitment activity during March was a sober follow-up to February’s seasonal rise, as uncertainty in the future economic situation continued to keep employers on the sidelines of the hiring field,” said Jesse Harriott, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at Monster Worldwide. “While online hiring activity has clearly declined on an annual basis, some areas have been less affected than others, including healthcare and public administration.”

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; accommodation and food services; and retail trade were the only three industry categories to register an increase in online job availability in March.

In contrast, online job recruitment activity in finance and insurance; and professional, scientific, and technical services, hit record lows in March. Construction also dipped, following a month of slightly elevated activity.

On a year-over-year basis, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting is the Index’s only positive growth industry category, while construction and professional, scientific, and technical services exhibit notable declines.

During March, online job availability dipped in eight of the nine U.S. Census Bureau regions. East South Central remained flat on a month-over-month basis due to increased demand for workers in the state of Kentucky.

At the state level, Kentucky and South Carolina were the only two states that registered an increase in online job availability in March, while Florida and Maryland remained flat.

Year-over-year, all 28 metro markets registered a negative annual growth rate with Pittsburgh exhibiting the most moderate rate of decline.

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