By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers posted fewer job openings in March compared with February and slowed overall hiring, underscoring a weak month of job growth.
The Labor Department says job openings fell 1.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted 3.8 million jobs. Total hiring declined 4.3 percent to 4.3 million.
A separate report Friday showed employers added just 138,000 net jobs in March, well below February’s 332,000. Tuesday’s report shows that the slowdown occurred because gross hiring fell and layoffs increased.
The unemployed faced heavy competition in March. There were 3.1 unemployed people, on average, for each job opening. That’s above the ratio of 2 to 1 that is typical in a healthy economy.
Job growth picked up in April. The economy added 165,000 net jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent.