Online job recruiting fell in December following two consecutive months of growth.
Monster Worldwide says its employment index declined eight points to a level of 167. The decline was not a surprise. Since its inception in 2003, the index has fallen at least three points each year in December -- the result of a seasonal recruiting slowdown.
Still, year-over-year growth for the index now stands at 22 points, or 15%.
The declines were fairly broad-based, with online job availability information technology and protective services down sharply. Areas of strength included real estate and retail trade.
Looking ahead to the next few months, Monster says job growth should be relatively strong, but a bit softer than it was at the beginning of last year.