Japan's job availability tumbles to 6-year low in July as pandemic takes toll

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TOKYO, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Japan's job availability tumbled to a six-year low in July while the unemployment rate rose amid continued downside pressure on economic activity from the COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on the employment market, the government said in a report on Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the job availability ratio dropped from 1.11 in June to 1.08 in the recording period, marking the seventh straight month of decline and the lowest level since April 2014.

Separately, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that the nation's unemployment rate increased from the previous month's 2.8 percent to 2.9 percent in July.

"Japan's economy is expected to rebound in the July-September period, but there is a possibility that companies will still be reluctant to hire and the jobless rate will likely rise above 3 percent in the coming months," Toru Suehiro, senior market economist at Mizuho Securities Co., was quoted as saying.

Recession-hit Japan has continued to struggle to see economic activity rebound to pre-pandemic levels, with the record economic contraction logged in the April-June quarter being indicative of the economic situation and the harsh job situation.

The severe labor market of late has also been punctuated by Japan's rapidly aging society which has, prior to the pandemic, seen the jobless rate pegged below the 3-percent mark.

The number of jobless people in the recording period increased by 20,000 from a month early to 1.96 million on a seasonally adjusted basis, while the total number of people in employment rose by 110,000 to 66.48 million, the latest data showed.

Of those contributing to the jobless rate, 560,000 people left their jobs on a non-voluntary bases, while 720,000 people left their jobs of their own volition, the ministry said. Enditem

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