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Job openings decline modestly in March

Hundreds of job seekers wait in line with their resumes to talk to recruiters at the Colorado Hospital Association health care career fair i
Hundreds of job seekers wait in line with their resumes to talk to recruiters at the Colorado Hospital Association health care career fair i

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of job openings fell slightly in March, a fresh sign the labor market recovery has shifted into a lower gear, government data showed on Tuesday.

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, fell to 3.844 million during the month, just below the revised reading of 3.899 million for February, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

Hiring also slowed, with the hiring rate dropping to 3.2 percent from 3.3 percent.

The department said last week that employment growth picked up in April, although recent data has suggested the U.S. labor market recovery has lost momentum since the end of the first quarter.

The percentage of workers quitting their jobs fell to 1.6 percent in March from 1.7 percent in February, the Labor Department said in Tuesday's report, potentially a sign of faltering confidence in the labor market.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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