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Japan – Job availability improves, unemployment steady

31 May 2013

Unemployment in Japan remained stable in April as the availability of jobs improved to the highest level in almost five years, according to official figures by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The data points to an economic recovery as the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April came in at 4.1%, flat from the previous month. This is in line with expectations as economists had predicted a median forecast of 4.1%.

The number of unemployed people in April was 2.91 million, a decrease of 240,000 from the previous year. The number of people in employment was 63.12 million, an increase of 370,000 from a year ago.

Job availability in Japan also improved in April as companies became more confident in hiring new workers in expectation of an economic recovery. In the month, the jobs-to-applicants ratio rose to 0.89 from the March reading of 0.86, the highest level since June 2008. This means that 89 jobs were available for every 100 job seekers. The number of new job offers rose 10.5% in April from the prior year.

The Bank of Japan recently raised its forecast for economic growth this year, now estimating growth for the year from March of 2.9%, up from a previous 2.3%. 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.

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