Friday, July 31, 2009
Jobless Rate Hits 6-Year High Of 5.4% In June
TOKYO (Kyodo)--Japan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reached a six-year high of 5.4 percent in June, clouding prospects for a real economic recovery anytime soon, government data showed Friday.
The rate rose from 5.2 percent in May at a time industrial production and exports are in a recovery phase. It is the highest since April 2003, when the rate hit a record high 5.5 percent.
The number of jobless people increased the largest ever 830,000 from a year earlier to 3.48 million for the eighth straight monthly increase, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in a preliminary report.
Of them, 1.21 million had been laid off, up 620,000 from a year ago, the ministry said.
Separate data, released by the labor ministry, said the ratio of job offers to job seekers in June was at a seasonally adjusted 0.43, the lowest on record for two straight months.
The latest ratio, down from 0.44 in the previous month, means there were 43 jobs available for every 100 job seekers.
Although economists and policymakers think the worst of the downturn is already over, continuing layoffs and shrinking incomes could act as a heavy drag on domestic demand and consumer spending -- which makes up more than half of Japan's economy -- for some time to come.
Japan's jobless rate has been rising every month since January's 4.1 percent and many economists believe it is just a matter of time before the rate tops its highest on record of 5.5 percent in the post World War II period.
In June, the jobless rate for men grew 0.3 percentage point from the previous month to 5.7 percent, while that for women grew 0.1 point to 5.0 percent.
According to the data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the number of job offers fell 0.5 percent from May and that of job seekers rose 1.7 percent.
New job offers plunged 22.3 percent from a year earlier. The manufacturing industry suffered the steepest fall of 48.3 percent, followed by 45.2 percent in the information and communications sector.