March job openings-job seeker ratio in March rose to 1.07, data shows

JIJI, Kyodo

The ratio of job openings to job seekers in Japan in March rose 0.02 point from the previous month to 1.07, improving for the 16th straight month, according to government data released Friday.

The ratio, which means 107 positions were available for every 100 job seekers, hit its highest level since June 2007, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications separately said the country’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent in March.

The number of unemployed people rose a seasonally adjusted 1.3 percent from February to 2.3 million, as those quitting jobs voluntarily climbed 1.1 percent to 910,000, the Internal Affairs Ministry said in a preliminary report.

The number of people holding jobs, meanwhile, rose 0.2 percent to 63.4 million, preventing the jobless rate from worsening in March, a ministry official told reporters at a briefing.

The country’s job market “has continued picking up as firms have become willing to hire more workers on the back of economic recovery,” the official said.

By industry, the health care and welfare sector added 210,000 jobs from a year earlier, but the transport and postal industry cut 110,000 jobs, the ministry said.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in February, registering its lowest level since July 2007, before the bankruptcy of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008 triggered the global financial crisis.

For fiscal 2013, which ended in March, the average jobless rate fell 0.4 point from the previous year to 3.9 percent. The number of jobless people decreased by 240,000 to just over 2.5 million on average.

The average ratio of job openings to job seekers rose 0.15 point to 0.97 on average in fiscal 2013.

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