I have been following the Monster Employment Index for several months now because it tracks online employment adverts, unlike the more traditional newspaper want-ad index which has been losing importance, with job postings moving increasingly to the Internet. Its latest reading for December 2007 was just released and it shows a very sizeable drop from 183 to to 169, only part of which can be attributed to seasonal factors (the index is not seasonally adjusted). Growth in job postings has been dropping steadily and is now down to 1.2% versus last December.
Add the rising number of claims for initial and continuing unemployment benefits, and the employment picture is darkening fast. With the "shopping-madness that wasn't" holiday period now behind us, I expect significant job reductions in the retail segment as stores adjust to lower growth. Retail jobs at 15.4 million account for 16.4% of all private service jobs, one of the largest groups in the employment universe.