Japan’s unemployment rate falls to 2.9% in June

The recovery was attributed to hiring at pandemic-hit restaurants and retailers as the state of emergency was lifted in some areas.
By: | August 3, 2021

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said the seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped from 3.0% for May, improving for the first time since March. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said the job availability ratio increased to 1.13 from 1.09 for the previous month, indicating there were 113 openings for every 100 job seekers. 

In late June, the country lifted its third state of emergency. The restriction measures then included mandating alcohol-serving establishments to suspend their operations, ordering eateries to close early and people to refrain from unnecessary outings, in nine prefectures including Tokyo. Only the southern island prefecture of Okinawa remained under the measures. 

The total number of unemployed people increased 110,000 from a year earlier to 2.06 million, with unadjusted figures for seasonal factors in the reporting month, while people in work increased 220,000 to 66.92 million, the ministry said. 

Hard-hit sectors like accommodation and eateries saw the first year-on-year growth in the number of workers in 18 months, increasing by 130,000 from a year earlier to 3.82 million. The wholesale and retail sectors recorded an increase of 490,000 workers from the previous year to 10.71 million – the largest rise among the sectors. 

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In mid-July, the capital city was put under a state of emergency again due to a spike in COVID-19 infections. Four other prefectures are now expected to be added to the measures, clouding the outlook for the employment environment, according to Kyodo.