By: Connie Blaszczyk, Monster Resource Center Managing Editor
September -- that time of year when we collectively turn the corner from the dog days of August and Labor Day barbeques to -- a slowdown in hiring?
As non-intuitive as that may seem, it’s not uncommon to see a decline in hiring during the transition from late summer to autumn.
The good news: the September Monster Employment Index (MEI) saw only a slight easing in recruitment intensity.
The MEI is a monthly gauge of U.S. online job posting activity based on a real-time review of millions of employer job opportunities, culled from a wide representative selection of career Web sites and online job listings.
Monster’s September MEI charted annual growth of three percent, marking the 31st consecutive month of positive year-on-year growth.
A broader look at the economy shows that while the national unemployment rate has generally been moving sideways, job losses are no longer rampant. On the downside, an environment of slowed job creation continues to discourage workforce participation.
For the full story, let’s take a closer look at recent industry and regional trends.
No News Can Sometimes Be Good News
Beyond a change of season, September brought significant gains in consumer-confidence measures, as recorded by the University of Michigan and Conference Board. Some observers attribute this shift to the slowdown of bad news about Europe’s ongoing financial crisis.
A more definitive explanation could be tied to the reported rise in housing starts in August -- as well as an 18% increase in dividend-reinvested S&P 500 stocks year over year.
One thing is certain -- the rise in consumer confidence was responsible for retail online recruitment growth in the September Index, one of the few sectors to chart an accelerated annual growth rate. [Find out more about recent retail hiring trends in Monster’s 2012 Retail Job Conditions Report.]
September saw similar growth in the accommodation (hotel) and food services sectors. In both cases the sequential expansion in recruitment from August to September indicates an abundance of open clerical and service positions in the consumer-driven business segment.
These recent trends coincide with recent Commerce Department sales figures that show spending on retail and food services rising incrementally through July and August, even after accounting for seasonal factors.
Another bit of good news: September finance and insurance recruitment continued to do well. The focus has favored sales agents and personal financial advisors, as well as information/records clerks, with greater momentum in insurance rather than banking. [Find out more about recent finance hiring trends in Monster’s 2012 Financial Services Job Conditions Report.]
On the flipside, annual growth of traditional white collar occupations went flat for computer and mathematical (IT) occupations in September; while job growth in architecture and engineering slowed to single-digits.
Regional Job Opportunities
Among major metropolitan markets, the September MEI ranked Atlanta as the growth leader, driven by gains in management and healthcare occupations.
New York and Los Angeles, the two largest metropolitan markets by workforce size, finished September just outside of the top five rankings for the Index by annual growth rate. Both markets regained momentum in September, showing a return to double-digit rates of annual growth.
LA and NYC also shared similar gains in occupational recruitment, including computer and mathematical, business and financial operations, as well as arts, design, entertainment, sports and media. These gains contrasted with nationwide developments for the respective occupational categories.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Midwest saw a deceleration in growth across the region. Cleveland showed the smallest growth among major metropolitan markets over the year, while Kansas City, Indianapolis and Chicago also charted more dramatic than average slowdowns in recruitment, marked by a downshift in long-term recruitment trends across engineering, the sciences and production jobs.
Among the 50 states and the District, 42 registered positive annual growth rates in the September Index.
The top five rankings include newcomers Hawaii and Michigan, along with North Dakota, Iowa and Wyoming. Texas charted the greatest growth rate among large-population states. Vermont remained a drag to positive trends seen in New England, including job growth in Massachusetts; Mississippi’s and Alabama’s slumping trends were a drag on the East South Central region.
Copyright 2012 - Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide.