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Japan’s jobless rate rises to 3.7%; job offer ratio climbs to 22-year high

AFP-JIJI

The jobless rate rose for the first time in almost a year in June, while the ratio of job offers to seekers hit a 22-year high, official data showed Tuesday.

The unemployment rate edged up to 3.7 percent in June from 3.5 percent the month before, the internal affairs ministry said.

It was the first increase since August 2013, when the rate rose to 4.1 percent.

Markets had expected the unemployment rate to remain flat from its May level of 3.5 percent, which was the lowest since late 1997.

A separate survey from the labor ministry showed the ratio of job offers to seekers stood at 1.10 in June, meaning there were 110 offers for every 100 job hunters.

It was the highest rate since June 1992, according to the ministry.

The rise in both job offers and joblessness suggests more people have started seeking work as they see the labor market improving, leading them to be counted as job seekers, which pushes up the unemployment rate.

The internal affairs ministry also said household spending fell 3 percent year-on-year in June.

The fall was smaller than the drops of 8 percent in May and 4.6 percent in April, just after the consumption tax was hiked for the first time in 17 years.

The tax was lifted to 8 percent from 5 percent on April 1 to help shrink the mammoth national debt, one of the heaviest burdens among wealthy nations.