Japan’s job availability sank to five-year low in June amid pandemic

Job availability fell in June to its lowest level in more than five years, with more people out of work in the nation due to the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Friday.

The job-to-applicant ratio deteriorated from 1.20 in May to 1.11, falling for the sixth month in a row to reach its lowest level since October 2014, according to the the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

The ratio of 1.11 means there were 111 job openings for every 100 job-seekers. The statistics are based on data registered with the ministry’s HelloWork job placement centers.

The number of effective job-seekers surged in June by 5.4 percent from the previous month.

“More people started job-hunting activities” following the lifting of the state of emergency declaration in late May, a health ministry official said.

By prefecture, the job openings ratio was lowest in Okinawa at 0.75.

By industry, service sectors related to living and the amusement sector suffered the sharpest fall of 34.8 percent in the number of new job offers before seasonal adjustment, followed by a 34.2 percent plunge in the manufacturing sector and a 29.4 percent tumble in the accommodation and restaurant sectors.

Separate data from the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry showed that the number of jobless people, before seasonal adjustment, increased 330,000 from a year earlier to 1.95 million, up for the fifth straight month.

The results showed conditions in the nation’s labor market continued to worsen due to the pandemic and that the government’s state of emergency declaration over the virus, in place in April and May, dealt a heavy blow to business activities.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in June unexpectedly fell to 2.8 percent, down for the first time in seven months. The jobless rate in May had been 2.9 percent, up for the third consecutive month to hit its highest level since logging 3.1 percent in May 2017.

The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed in the reporting month dropped 30,000, or 1.5 percent, from the previous month to 1.94 million. Among them, 740,000 people had voluntarily left their jobs, unchanged from a month earlier, while 600,000 were laid off, up 80,000, and 470,000 were new job seekers, down 50,000.

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Source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/07/31/business/economy-business/japans-job-availability-june-pandemic/