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Employers in U.S. Delay Filling Jobs to Pre-Recession Level

U.S. employers are filling job vacancies at the slowest pace since July 2007, when the economy was sliding toward its last recession, an analysis of government data showed.

While job openings have risen for more than three years, the average time to fill a position rose to 23 days in December 2012, from a low of 15.4 in July 2009, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by Jason Faberman, a senior economist in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s research department; Steven J. Davis, an economics professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business; and economics professor John Haltiwanger at the University of Maryland, in College Park.

“Employers don’t need to be in a particular hurry to hire workers because many opportunities are coming along,” Davis said in an interview today. “Many potential candidates are coming along, so they can wait till they get a good candidate, they know that if they don’t hire a candidate today, they will probably have more candidates to choose from in the future.”

U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 0.1 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, government data showed last month, as the smallest trade deficit in almost three years helped overcome the biggest plunge in defense spending since the Vietnam War era.

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