Companies Posted Fewer Job Openings in August

By Staff | October 12, 2011 | 10:30 AM EDT

In this Oct. 4, 2011 photo, Snotti St. Cyr, center, looks over a brochure while attending a job fair at a Goodwiill store in Atlanta. The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, a sign that the job market remains weak. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Washington (AP) — Employers advertised fewer jobs in August than the previous month, a sign some may have pulled back on hiring plans in the face of wild stock market swings and renewed recession fears.

The Labor Department says companies and governments posted 3.1 million job openings in August, down from 3.2 million in the previous month. July's openings were the highest in nearly three years.

There's heavy competition for each job. Nearly 14 million people were out of work in August, which means an average of 4.6 unemployed workers competed for each opening. That's worse than July, when the ratio was 4.3.

August was a weak month for hiring. Employers added only 57,000 net jobs that month, about half the total added in July.