Retailers, hotels and restaurants, and entertainment firms were the only major industries to post more job openings in March compared with the previous month.
Layoffs rose for the second straight month to 1.69 million, after falling in January to the lowest level since records began 12 years ago. Despite the increase, layoffs are still running below pre-recession levels.
Companies have posted more jobs but are slow to fill them. Many employers have become more selective and cautious about hiring since the recession. Some may not be offering enough pay to attract the candidates they need. Other companies, particularly in information technology and manufacturing, say they can't find enough qualified workers.
In the past two years, openings have increased nearly 24 percent. But overall hiring has occurred at less than half that rate.