(CNN) -- There's a new URL in town, and it has the potential to help hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans still trying to regain their footing in a slow economy.
The site, at www.universe.jobs and recently expanded by the DirectEmployers Association, is a clearinghouse of job listings that aims to create both a unified platform and one-stop shopping for both employers and employees.
What makes the initiative different from more commonly known sites such as monster.com and careerbuilder.com? Employers pay big money on these sites in order to reach a broader audience. The .jobs universe is free to both small and big business.
The aim, according to Tom Embrescia of Employ Media, which is the licensed operator of the .jobs doman, is to create "a trusted, valued source where job seekers and the people who have the jobs -- the employers -- can connect seamlessly under one intuitive URL."
Here's how it works:
Companies build their own websites on the .jobs domain, and the sites are updated daily. Potential employees can then search those listings, but they do so under specific links depending on both region and the type of work they seek.
For instance, a professional looking for new employment in the city of Boston would search under www.boston.jobs. Atlanta? www.atlanta.jobs. And so on.
Cities with a population of 5,000 or above are searchable. Only interested in listings in the technology field? Type www.technology.jobs in your browser.
There were about 40,000 .jobs domains that were functioning at the end of January, all through universe.jobs.
According to Bill Warren, executive director of DirectEmployers -- a nonprofit human resources consortium -- 580 Fortune 1000 companies have already responded and are actively posting jobs on the site. In turn, the passive or active job seeker will know that these listings come from a "highly trusted source...where they can go and feel that they are not getting jobs that are duplicates or scams, older or expired jobs," Warren said.
Listings are updated at a minimum of once a day, and 41 states are currently represented on the site. Eventually, programmers aim to expand throughout the globe.
Major corporations are responding. Some, such as not-for-profit Providence Health Services, see this as a way for companies to look outside the realm of candidates they normally recruit, giving them a much broader audience, said Rhonda Stickley, a spokeswoman for the company providing health care services in Alaska, Washington state, Montana, Oregon and California.
And Brandy Ellis, a recruiter at Colorado-based Level 3 Communications, a provider of IP transit networks, said gone are the days when companies simply posted their listings and then looked around for ways to fill them. Now, "we're starting to build a talent pool of people that, even if you aren't right for that immediate job today...you might be in the future. We are trying to change the way we approach the job seeker," Ellis said.