Japan jobless rate falls for first time in five months as economy rallies

Japan Times -- Dec 26
Japan's unemployment rate improved to 2.9% in November, dropping for the first time in five months in a sign that the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the labor market is easing, government data showed Friday.

Separate data from the labor ministry showed the job availability ratio in the reporting month improved to 1.06 from 1.04 in the previous month, up for the second straight month. The ratio means there were 106 job openings in November for every 100 job seekers.

The jobless rate fell from 3.1% in October, down for the first time since it dipped 0.1 point from the previous month to 2.8% in June, when economic activity resumed following the complete lifting of a state of emergency over the virus in late May.

The unemployment rate returned to a level below 3% for the first time since July, when the figure was 2.9%, according to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

But the rate is still higher than the 2.4% recorded in February, when the nation had yet to see any major impact from the pandemic. A resurgence of new virus cases since November has also clouded the outlook for the world’s third-largest economy.

- Japan Times