WASHINGTON -- U.S. employers advertised slightly fewer jobs in August while they filled the most positions in three months, a mixed signal for the job market.
The Labor Department says job openings dropped by 32,000 to 3.56 million in August. July's openings were also revised lower.
In a positive sign, employers hired 4.39 million people in August - the most since May.
The number of available jobs has jumped about 64 percent since the recession ended three years ago. It remains well below the more than 4 million jobs a month advertised before the recession.
The job market remains very competitive. With 12.5 million people unemployed in August, there were 3.5 unemployed people, on average, competing for each open job. In a healthy economy, that ratio is 2 to 1.
CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
AP Economics Writer
The Associated Press