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Job competition toughest since recession began

WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ The number of job seekers competing for each opening has reached the highest point since the recession began, according to government data released Friday.

The employment crisis is expected to worsen as companies stay reluctant to hire. Many economists expect a jobless recovery, putting pressure on President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats to stimulate job creation.

There are about 6.3 unemployed workers competing, on average, for each job opening, a Labor Department report shows. That's the most since the department began tracking job openings nine years ago, and up from only 1.7 workers when the recession began in December 2007.

The highest point after the 2001 recession was 2.8 workers per opening in July 2003, as the economy suffered through a jobless recovery.

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Oil prices nearly flat as dollar strengthens

UNDATED (AP) ¿ Oil prices were essentially flat to end the week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said this week that interest rates will have to be raised when the economy recovers in order to avoid inflation.

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