Job availability improved to a fresh 44-year high in September as companies sought to ramp up hiring, government data showed Tuesday.

There were 1.64 openings for every job-seeker, the highest level since January 1974 and up from 1.63 in August, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The nationwide unemployment rate fell to 2.3 percent, down from 2.4 percent the previous month and remaining near the lowest level since the early 1990s, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.