A gauge of U.S. online labor demand rose in March from February, as hirings grew broadly, but year-over-year growth moderated, global online careers and recruiting firm Monster said on Thursday.
Monster said its Employment Index moved up to 185 points in March from 177 in February and up from 164 in the same month a year earlier.
"The real story is what happened on a year-over-year basis," said Steve Pogorzelski, group president, international of Monster Worldwide , parent company of Monster.
The year-over-year growth rate to March was 13%, compared with an average growth rate of 23% last year.
"The index reflects a softer U.S. economy compared to 2006," he said. Although the labor market continues to show signs of stability, "we believe that job growth is moderating compared to the healthy growth we saw in 2005 and 2006," Pogorzelski said.
Overall, 15 of 20 industries and 20 of the 23 occupational categories tracked by the Monster Index increased their online recruitment activity in March.
Online job demand in all nine U.S. regions tracked by Monster moved up last month.
The Monster Employment index is a monthly analysis based on a review of more than 1,500 career sites, job boards and other Web sites. The margin of error is plus or minus 1%.
Monster says there is a strong correlation between trends in its index and those in the government's non-farm payrolls report.
But Monster's Employment Index is a leading indicator for the following month's payrolls report, because employers commonly take between four and six weeks to hire, Pogorzelski said.