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Japan’s unemployment rate in March rose to yet another record high of 4.8 percent, figures released Friday show, prompting the government to announce emergency plans to alleviate the situation.

Following the daily Cabinet meeting, Labor Minister Akira Amari announced a vaguely rendered plan to reporters that his ministry would send job counselors to man public employment offices for youths, and also create job-oriented forums involving municipalities, companies and workers nationwide.

A preliminary report released Friday by the Management and Coordination Agency showed that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March rose 0.2 percentage point over the previous month — the highest since the state began compiling such data in 1953. The number of unemployed for the month rose to a record high of 3.39 million, up from 3.13 million in February.

The rise was attributed mostly to a surge in people turned down for jobs following graduation from high school or university, and in young to middle-aged workers ousted in the turmoil of corporate restructuring.

In a another report, the Labor Ministry said the ratio of job offers to job seekers in March was unchanged from the previous month, at 0.49. The statistic means there were 49 job offers for every 100 job seekers.

In 199, that labor demand gauge dropped below 1 for the first time in six years and has been going downhill ever since. In fiscal 1998, the average ratio sank to a record-low 0.50, which was down from 0.69 the previous year.

The ratio and the jobless rate, which set a record high for the second straight month, indicate that the jobless rate is getting steadily worse and further government measures are needed to help the unemployed and create jobs, Amari said.

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