Jobless Recovery

Economic Jitters Cause Drop in Job Openings

Employers have policy concerns

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Job openings in the U.S. fell in April, showing companies were waiting to assess the effects of higher taxes and reduced government spending before committing to bigger staff increases.

The number of positions waiting to be filled fell by 118,000 to 3.76 million, the fewest since January, from a revised 3.88 million in March, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The pace of hiring picked up and more people also left their jobs voluntarily, the figures showed.

Today's data indicate it will be difficult for the world's largest economy to keep adding jobs at May's 175,000 pace as government spending cuts, known as sequestration, slow growth this quarter. Federal Reserve policy makers have said they want to see a "sustained" pickup in hiring before they begin dialing back record bond purchases meant to spur the expansion.