U.S. job openings surged in February to a 14-year high, yet employers filled fewer of those jobs than in the previous month.
On a brighter note, the Labor Department also says that layoffs fell sharply. Taken together, the figures suggest that signs of a stumbling economy have prompted U.S. businesses to pull back on hiring. But they weren't spooked enough to cut more jobs.
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The number of available jobs rose 3.4 percent in February to 5.1 million, the government says, the most since January 2001. That indicates companies want to add staff. Yet total hiring slipped 1.6 percent to 4.9 million.
Layoffs, meanwhile, plummeted 7.6 percent to 1.6 million, the lowest level in 16 months. That points to a high degree of job security for those Americans who are employed.