The U.S. jobs market continued to remain tight in August amid recent payroll data showing job cuts nationwide, according to new data released Friday.

The number of job openings remained virtually unchanged from July at 2.4 million openings, the U.S. Commerce Department reported today. Job openings have dropped by half since the biggest recent peak of 4.8 million in June 2007.

Another job measurement released at the beginning of the month showing activity on U.S. employer payrolls saw 263,000 lost jobs in September, sending the unemployment rate up to 9.8 percent.

In today's report, the hires rate remained low at 3.1 percent while the separations rate was at higher at 3.3 percent.

The unemployment rate is considered a lagging indicator. Economists expect a jobs rebound to occur many months after the economy begins growing as measured by leading indicators such as the stock market and manufacturing activity.