Japan’s job availability hits six-year low

The latest job data paints a bleak outlook for Japan as it continues to struggle to recover from the economic impact caused by the pandemic.
By: | September 1, 2020

Japan’s employment market continues to look bleak as its job availability fell to a six-year low, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on September 1.

The job availability ratio dropped to 1.08 from 1.11 in June, falling for the seventh straight month to the lowest level since April 2014. The ratio means there were 108 openings for every 100 job seekers.

The unemployment rate in Japan also rose to 2.9% from 2.8% in June, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

In July, the number of unemployed people increased 20,000 from the previous month to 1.96 million on a seasonally adjusted basis, although the total number of employed people increased 110,000 to 66.48 million.

Japan has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a record economic contraction in the April-June period.

And the latest jobs data paints a bleak picture of an economy that is struggling to emerge from recession despite the lifting of a state of emergency in May.

But it appears more needs to be done to revive one of Asia’s biggest economies.

“We are likely to see a bigger impact on employment going forward,” said Toru Suehiro, senior market economist at Mizuho Securities Co.

“Japan’s economy is expected to rebound in the July-September period, but there is a possibility that companies will still be reluctant to hire,” he said, adding that the jobless rate will likely rise above 3% in the coming months.