Monster, the leading careers Web site in the United States, expanded its franchise yesterday with a new monthly employment index of the nation's online job demand.
The Monster Employment Index, as this tracking of job postings on Monster.com and 1,500 Web sites nationwide is called, delivered good news: Online job recruitment activity for March was up, in a trend for the first quarter.
“While this isn't going to change the world, it's one more influential [index] for the market makers and economists to see where the economy is going, among others,” said Marcel Legrand, senior vice president of strategy and planning at Monster, Maynard, MA.
The index will come out each month a day before the Department of Labor releases its state of employment report. The Labor findings cover employment and unemployment numbers by gender, age, ethnicity, location and discipline.
“Ours is more of a reflection of demand for jobs online,” Legrand said, “whereas theirs is a state of the employed and unemployed individuals.”
So what does the first Monster Employment Index say?
The first six months of its findings indicate the largest increase in job opportunities is in the wholesale and retail trades, manufacturing, and education and financial services categories. But the healthcare industry tops the list in the number of openings available.
In the same six months tracked by Monster, the five occupations in most demand were positions in sales, business and financial operations, computer and information technology support, general management and administrative support.
The West/South Central region of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas saw the greatest surge in demand October through March for workers. Texas was the engine of such growth. Nationally, California offered the most number of job openings in the same period.
Monster aims to make its index as much of an event as the statistics from the Labor Department, whose numbers are due today.
“Labor issues are all it's about this election year,” Legrand said.
Monster's index is based on a real-time review of the numerous employer job openings pulled from online job boards, corporate career sites and Monster, which itself has a 40 percent to 45 percent share of the job listings market.
Legrand said these sites are representative of employer activity nationwide. Monster analysts visit each site to track job openings. The collected data then are audited by a third party, ARC Research.
The index is free to all, including academics, economists, government and consumers. The idea came from customers and also from frequent requests for job data updates from the Labor Department.
“We decided to do a loss leader on this because Monster has an intention to support and influence the human capital marketplace,” Legrand said.