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Employers posted slightly more job openings and stepped up overall hiring in February. The figures suggest that modest job gains may continue in the coming months.

The Labor Department says employers posted 3.5 million job openings in February, up slightly from a revised 3.48 million in January. Job openings reached a three-year high of 3.54 million in December.

The data come after a disappointing jobs report last week. Employers added just 120,000 jobs in March, about half the average that were added in the previous three months.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, though that was mostly because people gave up looking for work.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports