Japan job availability improves for first time in 3 years in fiscal 2021

A businessman wearing a face mask walks above shadows cast by a glass roof at an apartment building in Tokyo, Japan, April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan saw the first improvement in its average job availability ratio in three years in 2021, likely reflecting the gradual economic recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Tuesday.

The job-to-candidate ratio for the year to March rose 0.06 points to 1.16, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. The ratio means that there were 116 job offers for every 100 job seekers.

But the figure was still low compared to pre-pandemic levels, which stood at 1.55 in fiscal 2019 before the economy was affected by the emergence of the pandemic.

Separate government data showed the average unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 2.8% in fiscal year 2021.

The average number of unemployed in fiscal 2021 fell by 80,000 from a year earlier to 1.91 million and those in work increased by 40,000 to 67.06 million, it said. the Ministry of the Interior and Communications.

In March alone, the job availability rate improved to 1.22 from 1.21 the previous month, climbing for the third month in a row, the government said.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.6% in March, down 0.1 points from the previous month, improving for the second consecutive month.