Job openings increased slightly in February

The number of hires in February was 4.4 million, still below the 5 million seen at the beginning of the recession in December 2007. February's figure is up 19 percent since the end of the recession.

Overall, the number of job openings remained below the 4.3 million openings when the recession began, but openings have increased 46 percent since the recession ended. 

Job openings reached a three-year high of 3.54 million in December. 

The number of job openings in February increased over the year among retailers, healthcare and social assistance in state and local government. 

The latest figures come after the March jobs reports came in with lower than expected gains of 120,000, about half the estimated amount. 

The unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent, but mostly because people gave up looking for work.