Los Angeles-area job seekers found a more receptive market in July as employers picked up the pace of hiring, according to a survey released Thursday by the online employment site Monster.com.

The Monster Local Employment Index for Los Angeles rose two points in July to a level of 104, a two-point increase from a seasonal dip in June, the New York-based Web site said. All job categories except personal care and services were up year-over-year, which indicated a broad-based job market improvement.

Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations registered the largest rate of monthly increase in July, indicating stronger demand for doctors and nurses in the Southern California area. Online job opportunities in education, training and library occupations also surged to their highest levels on record, suggesting area schools and colleges have begun hiring for the upcoming school year.

Year-over-year, protective service occupations topped the list of fastest-growing categories, reflecting stepped up recruitment efforts in the public sector. Improved public budgets and funding are likely to have contributed to the increased hiring pace among government agencies witnessed in the L.A. metro area so far this year, Monster said in the monthly survey.

Some sectors that saw dips in employment were food preparation and serving occupations, which slowed for the first time this year as restaurant and hospitality managers began to scale back amid the approaching end of the summer season.

The Monster survey analyses online data from 28 regions nationwide. The Los Angeles region covers all of Southern California, from Ventura County to the Mexican border and east into the desert communities.

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