WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of available jobs in the United States jumped in December to near a three-year high, supporting other data that show a brighter outlook for hiring.

Companies and governments posted 3.38 million jobs in December, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That's up from the 3.12 million advertised in the previous month and nearly matches the three-year high reached in September.

Job openings in the private sector reached the highest point in almost three and a half years. Manufacturers, retailers and professional and business services all posted gains. Professional and business services include temporary jobs. But they also include high-paying positions, such as architects, engineers and accountants.

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