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U.S. job posting rise to 6.6 million in July

A customer wears a mask and looks at their cell phone as they carry their order past a now hiring sign at an eatery in Richardson, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate fell sharply in August to 8.4% from 10.2% even as hiring slowed in August as employers added the fewest jobs since the pandemic began. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
A customer wears a mask and looks at their cell phone as they carry their order past a now hiring sign at an eatery in Richardson, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate fell sharply in August to 8.4% from 10.2% even as hiring slowed in August as employers added the fewest jobs since the pandemic began. (AP Photo/LM Otero) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – U.S. employers advertised more jobs but hired fewer workers in July, sending mixed signals about the job market in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the number of U.S. job postings on the last day of July rose to 6.6 million from 6 million at the end of June. A year earlier, employers posted 7.2 million job openings.

Hiring dropped to 5.8 million from 7 million in June. The number of Americans laid off or discharged fell to 1.7 million from nearly 2 million in June.

Nearly 3.4 million quit their jobs in July, up from 2.8 million in June. The uptick was unusual because people are usually reluctant to leave jobs when the job market is weak. But some people appear to be staying home to avoid infections and others are taking care of children who can't go back to school because of the pandemic.

The job listing website Indeed reports that job postings in late August were running 20% below a year earlier. Listings at hospitality and tourism companies were running 47% below last year, Indeed found.