WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of available jobs in the U.S. fell sharply in February, a sign that businesses may pull back a bit on hiring.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings dropped 7.1% to 7.1 million, the lowest level in nearly a year.

The figures suggest the job market is still solid but they echo the mild hiring slowdown that has occurred so far this year.

The tally of open jobs far outnumbers the 6.2 million people who were officially unemployed in February, a stark sign of employer demand. The job market’ seeom to be following the path of the economy. Growth reached 2.9% in 2018, the fastest in four years, but most economists expect growth to slow this year to between 2% and 2.5%.

Consumers have turned cautious and reined in their spending, a sign that the impact of last year’s tax cuts is fading. Home sales dropped sharply in January but have since rebounded.

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