The number of people dismissed from their jobs due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic totaled 50,326 in Japan as of Monday, the government said Tuesday.
The number of such people — mainly so-called nonregular workers, a category that includes those with low-paying, part-time jobs — grew by more than 10,000 every month between May and July, and by 9,000 in August, according to a labor ministry survey.
There are doubtlessly more people who have been discharged from their jobs due to the pandemic, as the survey did not cover the whole of the employment situation in the country.
Of those dismissed during the week through Friday, over 60 percent were nonregular workers, according to the survey, conducted mainly through Hello Work public job placement offices nationwide.
By industry, the largest group of fired employees worked in the manufacturing sector. The retail sector came next.
The government is actively using its furlough subsidy system to support companies that put workers on temporary leave instead of discharging them. The government has raised the daily limit of employment subsidies to ¥15,000 per person as a special measure.
This helped keep the country’s unemployment rate below 3 percent. In July, the jobless rate stood at 2.9 percent.
On Friday, the government decided to extend the measure by three months until the end of December.
Retailers and restaurant businesses are in dire straits as many consumers are avoiding going out due to concerns about coronavirus infections.
“The employment situation may deteriorate further as it tends to lag behind an economic fluctuation,” said Taro Saito, head of NLI Research Institute’s Economic Research Department.
He also said that the furlough subsidy system “is only delaying the deterioration (of the employment situation) and shouldn’t be kept in place for a long time.”
Meanwhile, coronavirus-linked business failures leaving liabilities of ¥10 million or more have been reported in all prefectures, according to Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd.
The collapse of a local civil engineering firm in Kochi Prefecture was confirmed Tuesday, becoming the prefecture’s first such case.
In Japan so far, there have been 446 business failures linked to the coronavirus epidemic. Liabilities left by them totaled some ¥250 billion.
A ryokan (traditional inn) in Gamagori, Aichi Prefecture, went under in late February, and coronavirus-triggered business failures, mainly in the restaurant, apparel and hotel industries, had spread to 42 prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka by May.
Although the monthly number of such business failures is on a downtrend after peaking at 103 in June, the collapse of financially weak companies is continuing amid the lingering pandemic.