U.S. worker productivity barely grew from January through March after shrinking in the final three months of 2012. Weak productivity growth could prompt employers to hire more if consumers and businesses continue to increase spending.

FEWER JOBS, LESS HIRING: U.S. employers posted fewer job openings in March compared with February and slowed overall hiring, underscoring a weak month of job growth.

BAD MONTH: The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings fell 1.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted 3.8 million. Total hiring declined 4.3 percent to 4.3 million. Last week, the department said net job gains fall sharply in March. Tuesday's report shows that the slowdown occurred because gross hiring fell and layoffs increased.

STEADY GROWTH: Net hiring picked up in April and the previous two months were revised much higher. That suggests the weakness in March was temporary.