Printer Friendly

3RD LD: Japan's jobless rate down to 5.5% in August, 1st fall this year.

TOKYO, Oct. 2 Kyodo


Japan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in August after hitting an all-time high of 5.7 percent the previous month, the government said Friday.

The rate unexpectedly fell for the first time since January, amid some positive signs in the business activity of big firms. It was lower than the 5.8 percent projected on average by economists Kyodo News surveyed.

But the improvement was largely due to a slower pace of decline in the number of people losing their jobs and was not backed by a strong rise in the number of new jobs available, a preliminary report of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed.

''Our view remains the same that the employment situation is very severe'' despite the slight improvement, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said at a news conference.

The number of jobholders stood at 62.96 million in August, down 1.09 million from a year before, the 19th straight month of contraction.

The number of jobless people rose 890,000 from a year earlier to 3.61 million for the 10th straight month of increase, the ministry said. Of the total, 1.24 million had been laid off, up 610,000 from a year before.

In July, the number of jobless people grew by the largest figure ever -- 1.03 million, or 40.2 percent -- to push the unemployment rate up to a post-World War II record of 5.7 percent.

Most economists had expected that the jobless rate would continue to climb in August as recent figures have indicated manufacturers remain reluctant to make investments or hire additional people even though many of their production lines are operating at a much greater capacity than earlier this year.

According to data the labor ministry released Friday, there were only 42 job offers for every 100 job seekers in August, unchanged from the previous month. The ratio of job offers to job seekers, standing at a seasonally adjusted 0.42, is the lowest on record.

Kohei Okazaki, an economist at Nomura Securities Co., said the trend seen in the preliminary report will likely be ''only temporary.''

''The (unemployment) rate fall was surprising and was good news,'' he said. ''But still it will likely be higher again toward the end of this year,'' he added, pointing to factors such as a possible slowdown in the pace of recovery in industrial production.

The latest job figures were released a day after the Bank of Japan's closely watched Tankan survey said Japanese business confidence improved in the three months to September. It was the second straight quarter of improvement, marked for the first time in nearly three years.

In August, the jobless rate for men fell 0.3 percentage point from the previous month to 5.8 percent, and that for women dropped 0.1 point to 5.0 percent.

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry data, the number of job offers grew for the first time since May 2008, up 0.2 percent, and that of job seekers rose 1.3 percent.

New job offers in the manufacturing industry continued to plummet, down 41.3 percent from a year earlier. But that was better than the 46.3 percent drop in July.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Kyodo News International, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Oct 7, 2009
Previous Article:Dollar falls to lower 89 yen in Tokyo ahead of key U.S. data.
Next Article:Kyodo economic news summary -3-.

Related Articles
2ND LD: Japan's Aug. jobless rate grows to 3.8%, 1st rise in 11 months.
2ND LD: Nov. jobless rate falls to 3.8%, but gov't on guard.
3RD LD: Japan's jobless rate hits 10-yr low of 3.9% in 2007.
2ND LD: Sept. jobless rate falls with less men looking for jobs amid slowdown.
5TH LD: Dec. jobless rate at 4.4%, rises at fastest pace in 42 years.
3RD LD: Japan's April jobless rate rises to 5.0%, highest since 2003.
3RD LD: Japan's May unemployment rate rises to 5.2%, job availability worst.
3RD LD: Japan's jobless rate hits 6-year high of 5.4% in June.
Japan's Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Falls, Household Spending Surges.
3RD LD: Japan's jobless rate unexpectedly falls to 5.3% in Sept.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters