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Hiring hits highest since November 2006

Workers at the Bicycle Corporation of America plant in Manning, South Carolina.
Randall Hill | Reuters
Workers at the Bicycle Corporation of America plant in Manning, South Carolina.

Job openings were very slightly lower in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday, but hiring was on the rise.

There were 5.4 million job openings in February, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) report. Economists expected 5.5 million job openings in February, nearly unchanged from 5.54 million the prior month, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

But employers hired at the highest level since November 2006, the government agency said, at a rate of 3.8 percent, or 5.4 million. The hiring surge was driven by the private sector, especially retail trade, food services, and education services, the report said.

The monthly report from the Labor Department is a closely followed barometer of economic conditions, and measures job postings in different sectors, and the number of hires and layoffs.

The number of workers quitting or being fired or laid off from their jobs was little changed at 5.1 million.

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