March 3, 2011 – The Monster Employment Index (MEI), a monthly analysis of millions of online job opportunities culled from a large, representative selection of corporate career sites and job boards, has risen only four percent this past month. All 28 metro markets record positive annual growth in February and positive consumer-spending trends generate uptick in the retail sector. “Sustained expansionary trends in private sector hiring coupled with growing consumer confidence have led to positive year-over-year growth in the Index,” said Jesse Harriott, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at Monster. “Although Index growth has eased since the early summer peak of 2010 due in part to a decline in public sector activity, it has been positive year-over-year since February 2010 as employers continue to maintain a measured approach to growth.” Business and financial operations were up 11 percent and architecture and engineering increased 10 percent. Healthcare support gained the most momentum with annual growth accelerating from 10 percent in January. Public administration (down 25 percent) registered the steepest annual decline, with further reduction in government jobs at the federal and local levels.