The labor market in April appeared to be weathering a severe slowdown in economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic, but a closer look at official data released Friday reveals a less rosy picture.

Japan's jobless rate rose to 2.6 percent in April from 2.5 percent the previous month, a far cry from the 14.7 percent in the United States in April, a post-WWII record, and the 7.7 percent logged in the eurozone in March. But economists say the small rise in the official unemployment rate masks the full extent of the pain.

Analysts fear rises in the jobless rate could put the brakes on personal consumption and delay the recovery in the world's third-largest economy, which slipped into recession in the first quarter.