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Story Retrieval Date: 11/21/2014 10:32:33 AM CST

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Matt Marquez/MEDILL 

Chicago and the U.S. have seen four straight months of slowing online job demand, according to the Monster Employment Index.

Online job offerings shrink in nation, Chicago

by Matt Marquez
Feb 05, 2009

Mirroring the national trend, Chicago’s online job market shrank for the fourth straight month in January, according to the Monster Employment Index released Thursday.

Chicago’s January Index of online job demand plunged to 62,  down from December’s 76, an 18-percent drop that was the fourth largest of the 28 metro markets examined by Monster Worldwide Inc. The Monster Employment Index measures online demand from a sample of corporate career Web sites and other job boards, including Monster.

The national Index fell 10 percent to 118 from 131 in December.

Index figures sank for every occupation measured in Chicago, but the Index for online job listings in transportation and material moving industries, which include positions for truck drivers and freight laborers, suffered the steepest decline at 36 percent.

The dismal numbers reflect the slowdown in regional manufacturing, said Senior Economist Adolfo Laurenti of Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc., adding that falling production affects transportation and storage industries and everything from legal positions, down 24 percent, to finance jobs, down 12 percent.

Laurenti said the Monster Employment Index, when viewed alongside other employment measures, can give a clearer sense of the job market.

“It’s pretty bleak,” he said. “Chicago is a very diversified city; unfortunately, this is a very diversified recession."

The same gloomy landscape can be found throughout the country, with every major region experiencing a drop in online job demand.

And the fall has been swift. The most recent Index high was in September at 160, 36 percent higher than the January reading.

But the numbers aren’t all bad, with national online job opportunities rising in public administration as well as in the agricultural, forestry, fishing and hunting industries.

And online job listings may not even be crucial to those looking for work today, said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., a Chicago-based outplacement consulting firm.

Still, Challenger said he agrees with the bleak conclusions reached by the Monster Employment Index.

“Job creation is very important and this is a reflection of the jobs available right now.”