A record-low 71.3 percent of high school students hoping to work after graduation last March had found jobs as of the end of December, according to the results of an Education Ministry survey released Thursday. The figure was 5.5 percentage points down from the previous low logged for the same period the previous year. The results are the worst since the ministry began the survey in 1976 and mean that roughly 77,000 students have yet to find a job, the ministry said. About 270,000 high school students who said they intended to work after graduation were surveyed. “While the percentage of those who have informally received job offers has risen by 15.8 percentage points since the survey was last taken at the end of October last year, the job situation remains bleak,” a ministry official said. In light of the difficulties youngsters are having finding jobs, the ministry issued instructions for prefectural education boards to galvanize cooperation with local employment offices and organize mass job interview sessions. According to the ministry, 76 percent of boys had secured job offers by the end of December, while the figure was 65.9 percent for girls. These figures were 4.8 and 6.3 percentage points lower than those for the same period the previous year. By prefecture, Okinawa had the worst figure, with only 37.3 percent of students finding a job.

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