The Labor Ministry on Monday announced that its labor index for Japanese corporations in February shows the highest perceived labor surplus since November 1984, the date when the ministry began compiling such statistics.

Among the five industries the poll, transportation and telecommunications registered zero on the index, whereas the indexes for the other industries all remained negative, the ministry said.

The index for manufacturers fell to minus 34 from minus 29, while the reading for construction went to minus 25 from minus 16. The index for the service industry in February was minus 1 — a five-point improvement from minus 6 in November. Wholesale/retail and restaurants remained at minus 15.

The survey, in which 1,965 companies were polled, found that the index measured minus 20, down 1 point from the previous record of minus 19 during the last survey, held in November. The index is calculated by subtracting the percentage of companies who feel they have a surplus of workers from the percentage feeling they have a shortage.

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