Japan’s unemployment rate rose to a seasonally adjusted 4.8 percent in April, up 0.1 percentage point from the preceding month for the first upturn in four months, the government said Tuesday.

The Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry said in a preliminary report that the jobless rate was 5 percent for men, up 0.1 point, and 4.4 percent for women, down 0.1 point.

“The unemployment rate has hovered at high levels” for the past two years or so, said a ministry official.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said the same day that the ratio of job offers to job seekers rose to a seasonally adjusted 0.62 in April from 0.61 the previous month.

The ratio, a measure of demand for labor, means 62 jobs were being offered for every 100 job seekers during the month. The ratio was 0.64 in February and 0.65 in January.

Job offers grew 1.1 percent from March, while the number of job seekers increased 0.5 percent, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile, the Public Management Ministry said employed people numbered 64.27 million in April, down 130,000, or 0.2 percent, from a year before for the first downturn in seven months.

There were 37.95 million male workers and 26.33 million female workers, both figures down 60,000.

The number of unemployed grew by 20,000, or 0.6 percent, to 3.48 million, the first upturn in three months. The number of men out of work shot up by 70,000 to 2.13 million, and that of women dipped by 40,000 to 1.35 million.

Of the total workforce, 6.19 million people hoped to change jobs, down 160,000, or 2.5 percent, including 2.4 million who were actively seeking new employment.

The number of people who were laid off in April registered a decrease of 30,000 from a year earlier to 1.11 million for the fourth straight month of decline, while those who left their jobs voluntarily rose by 60,000 to 1.22 million for the first upturn in 10 months.

For men, unemployment was highest for 15- to 24-year-olds, at 10.4 percent, up 0.5 point, and for 55- to 64-year-olds, at 7.7 percent, unchanged from year-before levels.

The 15-24 age group includes those looking for work after completing their education, especially in March, and the 55-64 age group includes those seeking work after retirement.

For women, the jobless rate was highest between the ages of 15 and 24, at 9.4 percent, up 0.3 point, and between the ages of 25 and 34, at 7.3 percent, up 0.4 point.

By industry, there were 3.94 million workers in the transport and telecommunications sector, down 200,000, or 4.8 percent; there were 6.47 million construction workers, down 170,000, or 2.6 percent.

The number of workers increased in the services sector by 290,000, or 1.7 percent, to 17.59 million. In wholesaling, retailing and restaurants the number increased 200,000, or 1.4 percent, to 14.64 million. In manufacturing there was an increase of 10,000, or 0.1 percent, to 12.91 million.

Job target unrealized

The government said Tuesday it has created some 320,000 jobs under a one-year program to help people forced out of work find employment, falling short of its 350,000 target.

The program provided 240,000 jobless people with opportunities for job training, the Labor Ministry said.

It helped small and midsize companies employ 117,000 people with state subsidies and 157,000 people take jobs commissioned and subsidized by local governments. Both figures are above the targets of 100,000 and 150,000, respectively.

The program helped nursing-care service providers offer 18,000 jobs, short of the goal of 30,000. It created 27,000 jobs in up-and-coming venture businesses with subsidies, also below the target of 70,000, the ministry said.

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