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U.S. job openings decline in February from record level

Businesses have complained they can't fill positions. Above,

Businesses have complained they can't fill positions. Above, applicants at a job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla., in January.  Photo Credit: AP/Lynne Sladky

WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses posted fewer open jobs in February than the previous month when openings reached a record level, though layoffs fell.

The Labor Department said Friday that openings fell 2.8 percent to 6.05 million, down from 6.23 million in January, the most on record dating back to 2001. Layoffs dropped a steep 7.7 percent, to 1.65 million.

The figures suggest a healthy job market tilting in favor of job seekers. There are nearly as many job openings as there are unemployed people. Businesses have complained they can't fill jobs, and many are feeling pressure to raise pay to attract and keep workers.

There are now just 1.08 unemployed people, on average, for every available job. When the Great Recession ended, there were 6.7 people out of work for every opening.

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