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Hiring cools in March after a strong start to the year: LinkedIn

U.S. employers hired fewer people in March, but year-over-year hiring remained strong, according to the LinkedIn Workforce Report on Wednesday.

The report said seasonally adjusted hiring in March was 0.9 percent lower than in February, but hiring across the U.S. was 5.8 higher than in March 2016.

"It appears that after coming out of the gates optimistic at the start of the year, employers are taking a slight step back to see how the economy shapes up in the coming months," said Dan Roth, LinkedIn executive editor.

The source of LinkedIn's data includes its 133 million user profiles, 20,000 company profiles and 3 million monthly job postings.

The report said hiring in the oil and energy industry was 0.9 percent lower in March than in February, after increasing for five straight months. However, hiring in the industry increased by 30.8 percent from March 2016.

Seattle, Austin, Texas,a nd Denver gained the most workers in the last 12 months. The San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C., continue to have the largest gaps between the skills workers have and the skills employers need. Austin replaced Houston as the city with the third-largest skills gap, LinkedIn said.

The report comes two days before the Labor Department releases its closely watched monthly employment data.