FORTUNE — U.S. job openings fell slightly in March after making significant gains the previous month, showing once again that the nation’s economic recovery doesn’t always follow a straight line.
There were 111,000 fewer open positions in March than in February, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which released its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) Friday morning. Job openings, which serve as an indicator of the health of the labor market, stood at 4.01 million in March, down from a revised 4.13 million in February when 203,000 openings were added. The Labor Department originally reported 4.17 million openings in February.
There are currently 135,000 more job openings in the U.S. than there were at this point last year.
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Hiring was also down in March – 74,000 fewer new jobs were filled than in February. The hiring rate remained unchanged at 3.4%.
Meanwhile, the rates for both layoffs (1.1%) and people quitting their jobs (1.8%) in March were also relatively unchanged from February. There were 24,000 fewer layoffs in March, while the number of workers who quit their jobs during the month rose by 1,000.
“Quits going up is a sign that people have more confidence in their ability to find another job,” says Tom Cooley, an economics professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. However, Cooley adds that this report’s relatively small change in people quitting their jobs is fairly insignificant because tiny fluctuations are often within the margins of error.
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Cooley says people often look to the JOLTS report for signs of economic recovery, with significant amounts of churn generally signaling a strong job market, but this month’s numbers are not particularly inspiring because of a relative lack of movement by workers. “When you look at quits – and you look at layoffs and separations and new hires – if the labor market was getting stronger, we would be seeing more movement in these various states of churn,” Cooley says.
Among those who closely monitor the JOLTS report is Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who said this week that the U.S. job market remains “far from satisfactory” despite some recent growth. Yellen also pointed to the “disturbing trend” that is long-term unemployment, as roughly 3.5 million people in the U.S. have not had a job for at least six months, according to the Labor Department’s most recent employment survey.
The economy added 288,000 jobs in April – the largest increase in two years – and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.3% after sitting at 6.7% in March. However, a shrinking labor force was one reason for the rate’s decline.