Jobs available in Japan in September increase ahead of economic recovery

People are seen commuting to work in Tokyo on October 8, 2021. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) – Job availability in Japan improved for the first time in two months in September, with companies seeking staff ahead of economic recovery linked to government lifting of state of emergency COVID-19, government data showed on Friday.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the job / candidate ratio fell to 1.16 against 1.14 the previous month, down 0.1 point compared to July. The ratio means that there were 116 job vacancies for every 100 job seekers.

Separate data from the Home Office and Communications Ministry showed that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the reference month stood at 2.8%, unchanged from July.

Following a sharp drop in new coronavirus cases across the country, the country’s multi-month state of emergency was fully lifted on October 1. The measure at one point covered 21 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, including Tokyo.

As part of the emergency, people were urged to stay home, and restaurants and bars were told to close early and not to serve alcohol, hurting business confidence.

“The job availability figure showed employers tried to recruit more workers in anticipation of the economy picking up in October, especially among manufacturers and construction companies which suffered relatively minor damage from the industry. pandemic, “said Atsushi Takeda, chief economist of Itochu Research. Institute.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is yet to improve according to the job availability survey, as it surveys a wider range of sectors, including more service providers who have been hit hard during the pandemic. and remain cautious about hiring staff, Takeda said.

He added that some people were still refraining from looking for jobs in September over fears of another resurgence of the virus.

With the government promoting its vaccination campaign, the decrease in infections came after an explosive resurgence of the virus caused by the highly contagious Delta variant over the summer.

The latest data showed that the total number of working people fell by 280,000 from the previous month to 66.48 million, down for the second month in a row.

The number of unemployed fell by 20,000 from August to 1.89 million after increasing by 10,000 the previous month. Among them, 690,000 people voluntarily left their jobs, down by 50,000, while 540,000 were made redundant, up by 20,000, and 480,000 were new job seekers, down by 10,000.

By industry, the number of workers, unadjusted for seasonal factors, continued to grow in the telecommunications, medical and social sectors, up 8.4% and 2.3% year-on-year. previous to record the 19th and 14th consecutive monthly increases, respectively.

Figures for sectors hit hard by the pandemic remain sluggish, with accommodation and food service providers dropping 8.4% and the lifestyle and entertainment services sector plunging 11.0%.

Looking ahead, Takeda said the unemployment rate “may temporarily rise” as the number of vacancies and job seekers is expected to increase dramatically after the virus emergency ends.

“Even if the number is up, it’s a sign of economic recovery, so we shouldn’t take it negatively,” he said.

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