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Unemployment in Japan fell in January while the availability of jobs improved, according to government data released on Friday. This has raised hopes that the economy is improving and emerging from a slump.
Japan had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.2% in January, the Ministry of Communications and Internal Affairs said. The number of jobless people in the month was 2.73 million, a decrease of 180,000 – or 6.2% – from a year ago. This met expectations as economists had made a median forecast of a jobless rate of 4.2%
Employment levels also rose in January. The number of employed people rose +0.3% year-on-year to 62.28 million. The jobs-to-applicants ratio increased to 0.85 in January, the highest in over four years.
Earlier this year the government announced plans to introduce a stimulus plan and boost job growth. Japan’s new government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to defeat deflation and weak external demand which have dragged down the economy.