UPDATE 2-Monster Worldwide cautious on 2012; to cut jobs
(Adds details, CEO quote, share movement)
Jan 26 (Reuters) - Online recruitment firm Monster Worldwide Inc said it will reduce its global workforce by about 7 percent and forecast a first-quarter profit below analysts' estimates amid a weak job market in the United States.
Shares of the company, which also reported fourth-quarter profit that missed expectations by a cent, fell 13 percent in premarket trading on Thursday.
"The progress we saw in the fourth quarter was much slower than what we saw earlier in the year," Monster CEO Sal Iannuzzi told Reuters in an interview.
The uncertainty in Europe and the United States is causing companies to hold back and not commit as much as they would normally, he said.
The staffing sector -- seen as a barometer of economic health -- has been hit by a slowdown in Europe and an uncertain recovery in the United States, where the unemployment rate currently stands at 8.5 percent.
Iannuzzi does not expect a material change to the job market for the time being.
The company will cut about 400 jobs and consolidate some office facilities, and expects to record a pre-tax charge of $30 million to $40 million mostly in the first quarter.
Monster forecast first-quarter profit to be breakeven to 4 cents a share, lower than analysts' estimates of 9 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, which runs the Monster.com recruiting website, expects revenue to fall 3 to 7 percent in the first quarter and bookings to drop 6 to 10 percent.
Its fourth-quarter profit was 11 cents a share and revenue was $250 million. Analysts were expecting 12 cents a share and $258.9 million. (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel, Supriya Kurane)