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U.S. employers advertised more jobs and boosted hiring in June

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. employers advertised more openings and hired more people in June, adding to evidence that the job market has rebounded from a brief soft patch in the spring.

The Labor Department says the number of job openings rose a modest 2 percent to 5.6 million in June from 5.5 million in May. Still, that figure is below the 5.8 million openings advertised in April, the highest on records going back 16 years.

Hiring increased 1.7 percent in June to 5.1 million, a solid level but below a recent peak of 5.5 million in February.

"The underlying trend in the number of job openings is very high by historical standards, but it now appears to be rising only slowly, if at all," Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics said in a note to clients. "Still, we see no sign of any downturn, suggesting employers remain fundamentally bullish."

Businesses are hiring at a healthy pace even as economic growth has lagged, in part because the workforce has become less productive.

Still, with more Americans earning paychecks, spending and growth could strengthen in coming months.

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