WASHINGTON (AP) — Job openings fell for the second straight month in December, a sign that hiring is still weak even as the economy is gaining strength.
The Labor Department says employers advertised nearly 3.1 million jobs that month, a drop of almost 140,000 from November. That's the lowest total since September.
Openings have risen by more than 700,000 since they bottomed out in July 2009, one month after the recession ended. That's an increase of 31 percent.
But they are still far below the 4.4 million available jobs that were advertised in December 2007, when the recession began.
Job openings dropped sharply in professional and business services, a category that includes temporary help agencies. They also fell in construction, manufacturing, and in education and health services.