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Unemployment rate rises to 4.1%

Kyodo

The unemployment rate rose to 4.1 percent in August from 3.8 percent in July, the first increase in six months, as more people began looking for jobs amid increasing signs of economic recovery, the government announced Tuesday.

Separate data showed job availability improved for the sixth straight month. The rate of job offers to seekers climbed to 95 positions for every 100 applicants, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

It was the first time in three months that the seasonally adjusted jobless rate had hit the 4 percent level, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said in a preliminary report.

However, a ministry official took an upbeat view, saying more people have became eager to seek employment amid growing hopes of economic recovery, pushing the registered jobless rate higher temporarily.

“When the economy is recovering, we often see a rise in the unemployment rate as more people join the job market. We don’t see such a move as a negative factor,” he said.