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Washington – U.S. businesses posted the most job openings on record in April for the second straight month, underscoring the economy’s strong demand for workers.

The Labor Department says the number of available jobs rose 1 percent to 6.7 million from 6.6 million in March. That’s the most since records began in December 2000.

Steady economic growth has encouraged employers to step up hiring. That pushed the unemployment rate in May to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent. There are now more open jobs than there are unemployed people, a historically unusual development that should give workers more leverage to demand raises.

The number of people quitting their jobs slipped just 1 percent from a record high in March. More quitting suggests workers are easily able to get new jobs.

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