The number of positions waiting to be filled declined by 55,000 to 3.84 million from a revised 3.9 million the prior month that were the most since May 2008, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The report also showed hiring decelerated and firings climbed.fCompanies may be reluctant to add staff amid signs the expansion is slackening this quarter as the January increase in the payroll tax catches up with consumers and across-the-board reductions curb federal outlays. While hiring accelerated last month, bigger gains are needed to propel wage gains and revive economic growth in the second half of 2013.
“Job growth is proceeding at a pretty moderate pace,” said Robert Mellman, a senior economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. “The tax hikes went up early in the year, we got this slowdown in retail sales, this slowdown in manufacturing output, and that raised the question about whether businesses would get very defensive or not. It looks like they slowed payroll growth in March and April.”