• Kyodo News

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In the first drop in five years, only 86.3 percent of university students graduating this month had secured jobs as of Feb. 1, down 2.4 points from a year earlier, the government said Friday, citing a poll of 6,250 students at colleges and junior colleges.

The data reflect moves by companies to curb recruitment or tighten recruitment standards amid the economic deterioration, said an official at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The number of graduating high school students who have found work fell by 1.9 percentage points to 87.5 percent, the first decline in six years. By prefecture, Aichi was highest, with 95.9 percent, against the lowest reading of 57.9 percent for Okinawa.

The rate for male university graduates was 86.5 percent, down 2.7 points, but the rate for females fell 2.0 points to 86.2 percent.

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