This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

US Companies Post More Jobs But Fill Them Slowly

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ U.S. employers have more job openings than at any other time in nearly five years. That's in part because they seem in no hurry to fill them.

And it helps explain why the job market remains tight and unemployment high. Even as openings have surged 11 percent in the past year, the number of people hired each month has declined.

Why so many openings yet so few hires?

Economists point to several factors: Some unemployed workers lack the skills employers want. Some companies may not be offering enough pay. And staffing firms and employment experts say that in a still-fragile economy, many businesses seem hesitant to commit to new hires. They appear to be holding out for the perfect candidate.

"We're living in a fear-based environment right now," says Kim First, CEO of The Agency Worldwide, a recruiting firm for pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Those who do have jobs these days are unlikely to lose them. Layoffs have sunk to a pre-recession level.

But First says that companies feel they can't afford to take a risk by hiring someone who doesn't appear to be an ideal fit for the job they've advertised.

"They are really reluctant to make that leap of faith," she says. Companies "need someone to come in and hit the ground running."

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the number of job openings rose 8.7 percent in February from January to a seasonally adjusted 3.93 million. That was the most since May 2008.

At the same time, companies hired a seasonally adjusted 4.4 million people, just 2.8 percent more than in January. And hiring remained lower than it was a year ago, when it was nearly 4.5 million.

The figures suggest that the Great Recession may have transformed the job market in ways that economists still don't fully understand. Normally, more openings lead, over time, to stronger hiring and steadily lower unemployment.

1 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,065.87 +86.74 0.51%
S&P 500 1,993.13 +6.62 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,530.9560 +4.4740 0.10%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs