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US job openings decrease from highest level in 14 yrs

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Job openings in the US fell in March from a 14-year high, a sign companies may have held off on posting vacancies amid slowing growth in the first quarter.

[WASHINGTON] Job openings in the US fell in March from a 14-year high, a sign companies may have held off on posting vacancies amid slowing growth in the first quarter.

The number of positions waiting to be filled decreased by 150,000 to 4.99 million in March from a revised 5.14 million the month before, the Labor Department reported on Tuesday in Washington. Hiring and firing picked up.

The data add to evidence that the labour market cooled in recent months after accelerating in the second half of 2014. The slowdown in vacancies in March corresponded with the weakest payrolls growth that month since June 2012, indicating more moderate gains may be in store as US employers cope with a stronger dollar and weakness in overseas economies that are weighing on domestic growth.

"The pace of employment growth in the US had decelerated and is likely to be somewhat lower this year than it was last," Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc in Detroit, said before the report. "We're at a more mature phase in the economic recovery, so there's less slack available and less need for companies to catch up for their labor needs."

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