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Plans to tear down old Cole County jail and sheriff's house move forward April 16, 2014

Job openings fall for second straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers posted fewer jobs in December, the latest evidence that businesses are not ready to step up hiring.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised nearly 3.1 million jobs in December, a drop of almost 140,000 from November and the second straight monthly decline. That’s the lowest total since September.

The report provides an indication of future hiring patterns because it can take several months to fill many jobs.

Openings have risen by more than 700,000 since they bottomed out in July 2009, one month after the recession ended. That’s an increase of 31 percent.

Analysts expect companies will start hiring again soon, noting that other data suggests the economy is improving. Consumers are spending more, layoffs are at pre-recession levels and Dow Jones industrial average is above 12,000.

Also, a separate report from the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday said confidence among small employers is at the highest level since the recession began in December 2007.

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