The Labor Department says job openings rose in several sectors of the economy in February, including retail, manufacturing, restaurants and hotels, and transportation.
The report is consistent with other surveys showing hiring is picking up in those areas. It also echoes last week's employment report, which showed broad job gains in March.
Layoffs declined sharply in February, falling to 1.8 million from 1.95 million in January. Layoffs have fallen back to pre-recession levels, but job openings and new hirings are recovering more slowly.
Total job openings declined in February, a sign that hiring remains sluggish as employers slowly recover from the worst recession in 80 years.