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Number of job openings little changed in September at 5.5 million

Chipotle restaurant workers in Miami
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Chipotle restaurant workers in Miami

Monthly job openings — a gauge of the U.S. economy that's closely watched by Fed chair Janet Yellen — were little changed in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Tuesday.

Employers posted 5.5 million job openings, a rate of 3.7 percent, in September. That's a slight increase from the 5.4 million reported in August.

The Bureau said the number of hires edged down, especially in arts, entertainment, and recreation, in September to 5.1 million. Total separations also were little changed at 4.9 million.

The Bureau said there were 1.5 million layoffs and discharges in September, a decrease of 218,000 from August.

The report from the Labor Department is a key barometer of economic conditions, measuring job postings in different sectors, and the number of hires and layoffs.