The number of jobholders has fallen by 3 percent over a five-year period, marking the first decrease on record, according to a government report released Wednesday.

The total fell to just more than 65 million as of last Oct. 1.

The ratio of jobholders to those aged 15 and older came to 59.5 percent, down 3.3 percentage points from the ratio recorded Oct. 1, 1997. This is the first fall below 60 percent, the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry said.

The ministry began compiling data in 1956 to trace national employment conditions. The survey was initially conducted roughly every three years and has been carried out every five years since 1982.

As the latest survey — the 14th in the series — covered some 1.05 million people aged 15 and older as of Oct. 1, 2002, the number of jobholders can only be estimated.

The survey found that the number of workers in the manufacturing sector was 12.43 million, a decline of more than 2 million from the 14.45 million recorded five years before.

The number of workers in the construction sector decreased for the first time to 6.07 million from 6.87 million, while the number of workers in the services sector rose to 18.41 million from 17.04 million.

The 2002 survey also found a sharp increase in the ratio of part-time workers to the total number of workers during the five-year period. The ratio climbed to 14.8 percent for men, up from 10.1 percent, and to 50.7 percent for women, up from 42.2 percent.

The duration of the job-seeking period was longer than before, according to the survey, with 36.5 percent of male job seekers spending one year or more looking for work. In the 1997 survey, that figure was 27.5 percent.

Among other findings, 48.4 percent of jobholders had experienced midcareer job switches at least once.

Confidence dropping Kyodo News The key index gauging consumer confidence in Tokyo dropped 1.2 points in June from May to 40.6 in the first decline in three months, according to a government survey released Wednesday.

The Cabinet Office survey said the index fell because four of its five component factors worsened from May, with living conditions down 2.9 points to 40.7, income growth off 1.8 points to 40, price hikes declining 2.4 points to 44.4, and employment falling 0.9 point to 32.6.

The only factor that rose was whether it was a good time to buy durable goods, up 1.9 points to 45.1.

The office’s Economic and Social Research Institute assigns varying points to the degree of confidence of respondents by asking how much they expect economic conditions in the five components to improve or worsen in the coming six months.

The office surveyed 435 Tokyo households on June 15.

The respondents were asked whether conditions will “improve,” “improve somewhat,” “remain unchanged,” “deteriorate somewhat” or “deteriorate.”

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