Labor participation has been on a sharp rise but job openings in the JOLTS report are down in the February report, to 5.445 million from January’s revised 5.604 million. The job openings rate slipped 1 tenth to 3.7 percent.

But in signs of rising strength, the hiring rate rose a sharp 2 tenths to 3.8 percent with the quits rate up 1 tenth to 2.1 percent. Note that gains in the quits rate hint at rising confidence among workers to shift jobs. The layoffs rate came in unchanged at 2.1 percent.

The dip back in job openings is a negative but the level of job openings is strong and is the 4th highest of the recovery. Still, a slowing in new postings does not point to increasing improvement for labor participation which, as evidenced in last week’s employment report, has been on a surge as new workers, more confident that they can find a job, enter the labor market.