Online recruitment up slightly in Oct.

Online job recruitment rose modestly, indicating the start of a mild hiring pickup, online job search site Monster Worldwide said Thursday.

The Monster Employment Index edged up one point in October, to 120 from 119, the fourth increase since October 2008. However, the index is down 20 percent from a year ago, the least amount since October 2008, Monster said.

The index is a monthly measurement of U.S. online job demand based on a review of millions of employer job opportunities from a representative selection of corporate career Web sites and job boards.

“The rise in the October index, along with an improvement in the annual rate, indicates a mild expansion in the underlying employer demand for workers” said Jesse Harriott, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at Monster Worldwide.

Online job demand registered the highest rate of increase in October for health care and the social assistance industry, which includes family services, community food and housing and child day care services, Monster said.

In contrast, the retail sales industry experienced the second consecutive monthly decline, indicating sluggish seasonal hiring by retailers in advance of the holidays.

Arts and entertainment, accommodation and food services and real estate also dropped during the month while agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting showed greater online job availability compared with a year ago.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.