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There are almost 5.8 million open jobs out there

Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress" in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Feb. 11, 2016.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress" in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Feb. 11, 2016.

The number of job openings for American workers reached nearly 5.8 million in March, according to new figures from the Labor Department on Tuesday. That's the highest figure since July. Following a lackluster jobs report Friday, the new report doesn't add much flame to the Federal Reserve's reasons to raise interest rates in June.

The number of job openings rose from 5.6 million in February, according to Labor's monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report. Not all of those positions were filled however, as only 5.3 million hires were made. Hires edged down from 5.5 million in February.

The number of job openings has outpaced both hires and voluntary quits in recent months.

The JOLTS report comes the week after the monthly jobs report. While the jobs report shows the unemployment rates and the number of jobs added in the economy, the JOLTS report shows the churn behind those numbers and adds context to the stated unemployment rates. It adds data on job openings and hires as well as job separations like quits, layoffs and discharges.

The JOLTS report contains indicators Fed Chair Janet Yellen tracks in her reading of the country's economic situation. Market observers are paying close attention to any indicator that could show when the Fed will likely raise interest rates. Yellen has said the committee is watching economic data for support of future rate hikes.

The probability of an interest rate hike didn't change following the jobs report, according to figures from CME Group. CME's FedWatch Tool put the probability of a hike during the June meeting at 4 percent Tuesday morning.

Still, there were positive sides to Tuesday's report.

Separation from a job can happen in three ways: quits, layoffs and discharges, and what Labor calls "other separations." In general, economists agree that quits are what indicate strength in the job market. If workers think they can find better positions, they're more likely to quit a job.

Conversely, during tight economic times, workers try to hold onto their jobs. In 2009, layoffs and discharges jumped to more than 50 percent of job separations. That portion has declined since then and returned to prerecession levels.

In March, 59 percent of separations were workers quitting, up from 57 percent the previous two months.

But all was not roses in the report. Much of the hiring among nonfarm payrolls was in transportation, warehousing and nondurable manufacturing. That somewhat explains the stagnant wages that have perplexed economists as the recovery has continued.

Over the 12 months ending in March, hires totaled 62.4 million while separations totaled 59.6 million.

That includes people who have been hired and separated more than once in the year.