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Washington — U.S. employers advertised the most open jobs in nine months in April but pulled back on filling them, a sign of caution that may reflect concerns about tepid economic growth.

The Labor Department says job openings rose 2 percent to 5.8 million, matching the highest number on records dating back to December 2000. Yet hiring slipped for the second straight month to just under 5.1 million.

The figures suggest that growth of just 0.8 percent at an annual rate in the first three months of the year has caused businesses to postpone hiring decisions. There are other reasons that companies may not fill open jobs: They may not be able to find enough qualified candidates, or may not be offering sufficient pay to entice enough applicants.

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