WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. employers advertised slightly fewer jobs and slowed hiring a bit in March, though the declines came after healthy gains the previous month. The figures suggest the job market is improving in fits and starts.
The Labor Department says employers posted 4 million jobs in March, 2.7 percent fewer than the previous month. But February's total was the highest since January 2008, when the Great Recession was just beginning.
There are about 2.6 unemployed Americans for each open job, the report shows. That average has slowly been approaching the 2 to 1 ratio that is typical of healthier economies.
Total hiring dipped 1.6 percent to 4.63 million. That's 7.5 percent higher than 12 months earlier, but still below the 5 million monthly hires typical of a strong job market.