US job openings fall, hiring rises as figures paint mixed picture of labor market

The number of available jobs in the U.S. fell in March, though companies filled more of their open positions in a sign they are still confident enough to hire.

The Labor Department says that job postings fell 2.9 percent to just under a seasonally adjusted 5 million in March. Meanwhile, total hiring ticked up 1.1 percent to 5.1 million, the most since December.

The figures underscore that lackluster job gains overall in March reflected a temporary slowdown. Last week's jobs report showed that businesses ramped up hiring in April.

The government also says layoffs jumped in March, particularly in the Midwest, where recent job cuts in the oil and gas industry have cost thousands of jobs.