Job openings rise in January on retail bounce back

A bounce back in vacant retail positions lifted the number of jobs open in the United States in January, but the overall tone continued to point to only a moderate improvement in the labor market.

Job openings - a measure of labor demand - increased to a seasonally adjusted 3.7 million in January from 3.6 million in December, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday.

Retail sector job openings increased by 34,000 in January after declining the prior month. Job openings in manufacturing and construction rose modestly. There were also a small increase in government job openings.

Vacancies declined in education and health services, and leisure and hospitality.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)