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January jobless rate stays flat at 3.7%

Kyodo

The unemployment rate remained flat at 3.7 percent in January, while job availability improved for the 14th straight month as the nascent economic recovery helped boost corporate profits, government data showed Friday.

The number of people out of work fell a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent from December to 2.42 million, as those leaving jobs voluntarily fell 8.4 percent to 870,000, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said in a preliminary report.

But the number of people holding jobs fell 0.5 percent to 63.19 million, preventing the jobless rate from improving in January, according to a ministry official.

Separate data released by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry showed the ratio of employment offers to seekers rose to 1.04 in January from 1.03 in December, which means 104 positions were available for every 100 job seekers.