Business Highlights

By The Associated Press

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US companies are posting more jobs but filling few

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

That disparity 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 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 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.

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Penney CEO's challenge: Is it even fixable?

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ There won't be an easy fix for J.C. Penney â¿¿ if it is even fixable.

As Mike Ullman takes the reins again less than two years after his departure, he faces the Herculean task of undoing the mess left by his predecessor, Ron Johnson, who was ousted Monday. With the department store chain in the middle of a disastrous overhaul that has driven away shoppers, the 66-year-old Ullman has to quickly figure out what parts of Johnson's legacy to keep and what to trash.

The overarching question is whether the century-old retailer can be saved at all. Very few retailers have recovered from sales declines of 25 percent in the single year that Penney suffered under Johnson's watch. On Tuesday Penney shares dropped more than 12 percent to a 12-year-low of $13.93 as investors' worries grew about the company's future.

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Microsoft assault on Google shows industry shift

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) â¿¿ Microsoft is skewering Google again with ads and regulatory bashing that say as much about the dramatic shift in the technology industry's competitive landscape as they do about the animosity between the two rivals.

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