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US companies post more job, but fill them slowly

Christopher s. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. employers advertised the most job openings in nearly five years in February, but overall hiring rose at a much slower pace. The figures suggest companies are too cautious about the economy to quickly fill open jobs.

The Labor Department says the number of available jobs rose 8.7 percent in February from January to a seasonally adjusted 3.93 million — the highest since May 2008.

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

Economists say there are several likely reasons for the disparity. Unemployed workers may lack the skills employers seek. Or companies may not be offering enough pay.