New Delhi: In line with the prevailing economic scenario, hiring activity in India continued to slow for the third consecutive month in December over the previous month and the recruitment outlook remains "cautious" for this year, says job portal

The Monster Employment Index India for December – a monthly gauge of online job demand based on a real-time review of millions of employer job opportunities -- stood at 115, down nearly 2 percent from the month ago period.

The index, however, on year-on-year basis witnessed a 3 percent rise in December -- the slowest year-over-year growth recorded in 2011.

"Despite a slower pace of growth the Index remained positive from an annual perspective as recruitment activity continued across a broad range of sectors," MD (India/ Middle East/ South East Asia) Sanjay Modi said.

Modi added that the "current outlook on hiring remains cautious as we approach 2012, which is in line with the prevailing economic scenario."

Online opportunities expanded in 17 out of 27 industry sectors monitored by Monster Employment Index, with agro based industries witnessing the sharpest uptrend (21 percent), followed by real estate (16 percent), social services (15 percent), FMCG (13 percent) and import export (12 percent).

Meanwhile, industries which witnessed the lowest growth included logistics, which witnessed a 18 percent decline, followed by PSU segment (- 15 percent), printing/packaging (- 14 percent), media and entertainment (- 13 percent) and BPO/ITeS (- 7 percent).

City-wise, online recruitment was up on the year for eight of the 13 locations monitored by the index.

Coimbatore led all cities in longer-term growth in recruitment activity (up 13 percent), while Ahmedabad saw the steepest decline (down 10 percent).

Bangalore led all metro markets in annual growth (up 10 percent), whereas, online demand in Mumbai slipped seven percent from its December 2010 level, the report added.