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U.S. companies post more jobs, but fill them slowly

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U.S. employers advertised the most job openings in nearly five years in February, but they boosted hiring at a much slower pace. The figures suggest that companies remain too cautious about the economy to quickly fill open jobs.

The number of openings rose 8.7 percent in February from January to a seasonally adjusted 3.93 million, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That was the most since May 2008.

At the same time, companies hired a seasonally adjusted 4.4 million people, just 2.8 percent more than in January. And hiring remains lower than it was a year ago, when it reached 4.49 million.

Economists point to several likely reasons for the disparity between a surge in job openings but only a modest rise in hiring. Many unemployed workers may lack the skills employers want. Some companies may not be offering enough pay.

And recruiting and staffing firms say some employers seem reluctant to fill jobs until they find what they regard as perfect candidates.

U.S. hiring slowed sharply in March, despite the increase in job openings the previous month. Employers added only 88,000 jobs last month, the government reported Friday. That was the fewest in nine months and nearly half the pace of the previous six months.

Some companies may also have slowed hiring after steep government spending cuts began taking effect March 1. Those cuts are expected to shave about a half-point from economic growth this year.

There were 3.1 unemployed people, on average, for each opening in February. That exceeds the roughly 2-to-1 ratio typical of a healthy economy. But it's down sharply from a peak of 6.7 in July 2009, the highest in the 12 years the government has tracked the data.

Still, until employers start filling jobs more quickly, the ratio of unemployed people to openings may overstate the health of the job market.

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

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  5. Well....as a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).

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