US online jobs index rises in Oct on seasonal openings

NEW YORK Fri Nov 4, 2011 12:01am EDT

NEW YORK Nov 4 (Reuters) - A monthly gauge of online labor demand in the United States rose in October, helped in part by holiday season job openings, a private research group said on Friday.

Monster Worldwide Inc , an online careers and recruiting firm, said its employment index rose 2 percent to 151 points last month from 148 in September. The index was up 11 percent from 136 a year ago.

Job demand in the retail trade sector jumped 26.2 percent from October last year. Meanwhile, in the government sector where budgets are being cut at a state and local level, job openings were down nearly 30 percent from last year.

"It does appear that businesses are proceeding with their seasonal hiring as we would expect them to be doing," said Jesse Harriott, a senior vice president at Monster.

"So despite that there are a lot of macroeconomic indicators and buzz that things are not going so well, the underlying data, at least from a labor market perspective, are suggesting it's not as bad as people think."

The index saw annual growth in 15 of the 20 industries and 19 of the 23 occupations monitored last month. As well, all of the 28 metro markets were up from a year ago.

The report was another look at the jobs market ahead of the non-farm payrolls report due later on Friday. The economy is likely to have added 95,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate is seen holding steady at 9.1 percent.

The Monster Employment index is a monthly analysis based on a selection of corporate career sites and job boards. The margin of error is approximately plus or minus 1 percent.

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