JOLTS: 5.8 million job openings vs. 5.4 million expected

A worker builds light fixtures at the Roll & Hill manufacturing facility in Brooklyn, New York.
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Although job openings rose in March, the hiring rate was slightly lower, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Tuesday report.

There were 5.8 million job openings in March, up from 5.4 million job openings in February, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) report. Economists expected 5.4 million job openings in March, unchanged from the prior month, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

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.

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Professional and business services saw the biggest gains in job openings, while retail saw the greatest contraction.

The hiring rate came in at 3.7 percent for the month. The number of hires was also slightly lower at 5.3 million. The decline was largely in the private sector and retail.

The March turnover rate was similar to February's at 3.5 percent or 5 million total separations.