In this Oct. 4, 2011 photo, Blake Andrews with Verizon, left, visits with prospective employees during a job fair, in San Antonio. Employers advertised more jobs in September than at any other point in the past three years, a hopeful sign that job market is slowly improving. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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Competition for jobs is fierce. And many employers aren't rushing to fill some because they are worried about the strength of the economy.
Still, most economists say the increase in openings is a reassuring sign.
Nearly 3.4 million jobs were posted in September, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That's the most since August 2008, one month before the financial crisis intensified.
"Business confidence appears intact," said Alan Levenson, an economist at T. Rowe Price, "confirming ... that job growth is going to continue."
Job openings have rebounded from a decade low of 2.1 million in July 2009. But they are well below the 4.4 million advertised in December 2007, when the recession began.
Almost four years later, roughly 14 million people are unemployed. An average 4.2 unemployed workers were competing for each opening in September. That's slightly better than August, but it is still more than twice the 2 to 1 ratio that economists say is healthy.
Jobs opening on the rise, hiring not catching up