Business / Economy

Unemployment rate fell to 3.2% in January

Kyodo

Japan’s unemployment rate in January registered its lowest level in three months, falling to 3.2 percent from 3.3 percent the previous month and reflecting a continuation of the tight labor market, the government said Tuesday.

Separate data showed the country’s job availability improved to 1.28 in January, hitting its strongest level since December 1991 and following a December 2015 rate of 1.27.

In effect, the statistic means that 128 positions were available for every 100 job-seekers.

The unemployment rate for men declined 0.2 points from the previous month to 3.4 percent while that for women was unchanged at 2.9 percent, according to data released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

The number of unemployed people dropped a seasonally adjusted 4.1 percent to 2.12 million, while the number of workers increased 1.0 percent to 64.58 million.

Meanwhile the number of people leaving jobs voluntarily stood at a seasonally adjusted 850,000.

Despite improving employment conditions, average monthly household spending in January fell an inflation-adjusted 3.1 percent from a year earlier to ¥280,973, the ministry said in a separate release, declining for the fifth straight month.

Household spending is a key indicator of private consumption, which accounts for about 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.