U.S. employers advertised slightly fewer jobs in August than July, while they filled the most positions in three months, offering a mixed signal for the job market.

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The Labor Department said Wednesday that job openings dropped by 32,000 to 3.56 million in August. July's openings were also revised lower.

"This suggests that the economy is still doing okay, this is a slight dip.  However, the number of job openings is far higher than they were one year ago" said James Hughes, an economist at the Edward J. Bloustein School at Rutgers University.

In a positive sign, employers hired 4.39 million people in August -- the most since May.

The number of available jobs has jumped about 63 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 economy is growing, but not an explosive pace, so this slight dip in openings is still consistent with moderate job growth and that is still being seen in the national economy for the past four or five months of these reports" Hughes added.