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Washington – The number of jobs posted by U.S. employers declined slightly in September but still exceeded the number of unemployed Americans and remained near a two-decade high.

The report from the Labor Department is the latest evidence that U.S. companies are straining to fill jobs in the face of a robust job market with low unemployment.

The department says job openings declined 4 percent to roughly 7 million, close to the highest levels on records dating back to December 2000. The number of openings far exceeded the roughly 6 million people who were unemployed in September.

The number of available jobs, in fact, has topped the number of unemployed for six straight months. Steadily strong hiring has lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to a nearly five-decade low of 3.7 percent.

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