Unemployment fell to 3.4% in March


The seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 3.4 percent in March, down 0.1 percentage point from the previous month, improving for the second straight month thanks to a better employment situation for young people, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said Friday.

The ratio of job openings to job seekers in March stood at 1.15 after seasonal adjustment, unchanged from February, remaining at its highest level since March 1992, when it was 1.19, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said the same day.

The total number of jobless fell by 90,000 to 2.21 million, while the number of people with jobs fell by 100,000 to 63.66 million, according to data from the internal affairs ministry.

Nonregular employees totaled 19.73 million, up by 90,000 from a year earlier, increasing for the first time in two months. Such workers increased among elderly people but decreased among young people.

“Amid labor shortages, companies are eager to secure workers, mainly young people,” for regular jobs, an internal affairs ministry official in charge of labor statistics said.

Among Japan’s 47 prefectures, the job openings-to-seekers ratio was the highest in Tokyo, at 1.65, and the lowest in Okinawa at 0.79, according to the labor ministry survey.

The ratio for regular jobs for the whole of Japan climbed 0.01 point to 0.71.

By sector, new job offers increased markedly in the hotel and food businesses, and medical and welfare services.

For the whole of fiscal 2014, which ended in March, the average jobless rate fell 0.4 point from the previous year to 3.5 percent. The average job openings-to-seekers ratio rose 0.14 point to 1.11, up for the fifth straight year, hitting the highest level since fiscal 1991.