Apr 09, 2013 12:36 PM EDT

February JOLTS Report Predicts Better Jobs Growth

The pace of hiring by employers increased slightly in February, the Labor department said on Tuesday in a report that gave a positive sign for the American job market.

Employers posted 3.9 million jobs in February, the most since the recession ended in June, 2009, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) on Tuesday.

The hire rate - the percentage of workers hired relative to total employment - ticked up a tenth of a percentage point to 3.3 percent during the month. There are now just over three unemployed workers for every job opening, down from a peak of nearly seven in 2009.

The report is based on a separate survey than the Labor Department's monthly survey of employer payrolls, which has shown strong gains in employment in February followed by a sharp slowdown in March.

The data is from February, when employers added 268,000 jobs. The labor market has since taken a turn for the worse, according to Friday's jobs report, which showed payrolls growing by a disappointing 88,000 jobs in March. That decline won't show up in the JOLTS data for another month.

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