UPDATE 2-Monster U.S. online jobs index falls in May

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June 5 (Reuters) - An online gauge of U.S. labor demand fell eight points in May, ending a three-month upward trend and indicating the end of the early spring recruitment push, a private research group said on Thursday.

Monster Worldwide Inc, an online career and recruiting company, said its Employment Index fell to 166 points in May from 174 in April. It was 189 points a year ago.

A decline in online job recruitment in May contributed to the 12 percent year-to-year drop in the index, Monster said.

“After three months of steady growth, the decline in the Monster Employment Index in May suggests further moderation in the job market resulting from a generally softer economic outlook,” said Jesse Harriott, vice president of research at Monster, in a statement.

“Certain sectors, such as food, healthcare, natural resources, public administration, military and utilities are still showing strong demand for workers,” Harriott added.

In contrast, online job availability fell for education, training and library; food preparation and serving; and sales and related occupations in May, the company said.

On a year-over-year basis, growth rates in the financial and insurance sector “decelerated rapidly” between April and May, it said.

Job demand fell in eight of the nine U.S. census regions in May, with only the West South Central registering an increase. The Mid-Atlantic region registered the biggest fall.

The Monster report comes ahead of the government’s monthly job report due on Friday, one of the biggest events on the monthly economic calendar. A Reuters poll shows analysts expect the job report to show non-farm payrolls fell by 58,000 in May.

On Wednesday, a report by ADP Employer Services showed private-sector employers added 40,000 jobs in May, easily out-performing economists’ median expectation for a drop of 30,000 jobs, according to a Reuters poll.

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. (Reporting by Tenzin Pema in Bangalore; Editing by Ben Tan and David Cowell)