For example, for the past two years net job gains have averaged about 180,000 per month. But much that gain reflects a decline in layoffs, rather than more overall hiring.
Layoffs fell to the lowest level on records dating back to 2001 in January. They have since increased slightly but are still below pre-recession levels.
Fed officials and economists want to see overall hiring pick up because it would indicate businesses are confident enough to add more workers.
Despite April's increases, overall hiring and quits are still below pre-recession figures. Total hiring topped 5 million in most months before the recession began in December 2007. That's 14 percent higher than April's level.
Monthly quits were typically around 2.8 million before the recession. That's 24 percent higher than April.
The job market remains very competitive for those looking for work. There were 3.1 unemployed workers, on average, for each open job in April. In a healthy economy, the ratio is 2 to 1.
The drop in openings suggests that job gains may not pick up from their current modest pace in the coming months.
Openings have risen much faster than total hiring since June 2009, when the recession ended. The number of available jobs has increased 58 percent since then, but total hiring has increased only 22 percent.
That's a sign companies are slow to fill the jobs they have posted. 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.