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Japan’s unemployment rate reached 4.2% in December, rising from 4.1% from the previous month, the ministry of internal affairs and communications announced on Friday. But throughout 2012, the jobless rate dropped to an average of 4.3%, seeing two straight years of improvement.
The increase in unemployment was higher than expected as forecasts predicted a flat rate. The number of people in employment in December was 62.28 million, a fall of 380,000 or 0.6% from a year ago.
The news followed an announcement by the government last month 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.