As the economy gradually recovers, some big U.S. companies are cranking up their recruiting and advertising thousands of job openings, ranging from retail clerks and nurses to bank tellers and experts in cloud computing.

Many of the new jobs are in retailing, accounting, consulting, health care, telecommunications and defense-related industries, according to data collected for The Wall Street Journal by Indeed Inc., which runs one the largest employment websites. It said the number of U.S. job postings on the Internet rose to 4.7 million on Dec. 1, up from 2.7 million a year earlier. The company daily collects listings from corporate and job-posting websites, removing duplicates.

Its figures may undercount available jobs because some companies don’t post all listings online, an Indeed spokesman said. Farming, manufacturing and construction jobs tend to be under-represented in online postings, while skilled computer and mathematical jobs are overrepresented, said June Shelp, an economist and vice president for the Conference Board, a private research group.

To be sure, the postings data offer only a partial and unofficial look at the labor market. Job losses in the recent recession have been much worse relative to output declines than in previous slumps, and official payroll data so far haven’t shown signs of a big rebound in hiring. While some big companies are expanding, others are merely replacing workers who are retiring or otherwise moving on. And many of the available jobs require experience and technical expertise that few job seekers can muster. Jobs that don’t are still seeing a flood of applicants for each opening.

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