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September job postings drop

WASHINGTON — US employers posted fewer job openings in September after advertising more in August than first estimated. The report suggests hiring is likely to remain modest in the coming months.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings dropped by 100,000 to 3.56 million, the fewest in five months. August’s openings were revised up to 3.66 million.

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The number of available jobs remains well below the more than 4 million jobs a month advertised before the recession began in December of 2007.

With 12.1 million people unemployed in September, there were 3.4 people, on average, competing for each job. In a healthy economy, that ratio is roughly 2 to 1.

Employers filled fewer available positions in September than in August. And the number of people who quit fell to the lowest level in 10 months. That’s a bad sign for the job market, because it suggests workers see fewer opportunities to move to a better job.

One positive sign in the report: Layoffs fell.

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