There's good and bad news from the Labor Department on job openings. While the number of positions has dropped since August, hiring is up.

Job Fair (Roberto Gonzalez, Getty Images)

Job openings dropped by 32,000 in August, but employers filled the most positions in three months.

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.

"Here in New Jersey the state has seen modest job growth in 2012 compared to last year, so we're doing relatively well compared to the nation" said James Hughes, economist at the Edward J. Bloustein School at Rutgers University.

Employers added 114,000 jobs last month, according to a separate survey of businesses. While only a modest increase, the government said hiring was much stronger in July and August. From July through September, employers added an average of 146,000 a month. That's more than double the average monthly job growth during the previous three months.

Hughes says the report is a sign that the economy is improving and slowly rebounding from the recession three years ago.

"I think this suggests that the economy is on the mend, jobs are coming back, but we still have a long way to go."