• Jiji

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The number of students who are set to graduate from high schools next spring and were seeking jobs as of the end of October fell 10.1% from the end of September last year to 152,402, hitting the lowest level ever, a labor ministry survey showed Tuesday.

“Many job seekers changed their plans and decided to study at university or vocational school or work as public servants due to the coronavirus pandemic,” a ministry official said.

The pace of the drop was the steepest since that seen for students who graduated in spring 1994, the ministry said.

The survey covered companies that offered job opening information to schools through Hello Work public job placement offices across the country. It did not count students hoping to become public servants.

The number of jobs available to high school students dropped 20.7% to 369,677, its largest decline since the figure for students who graduated in spring 2010 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

By industry, the accommodation and restaurant services sector saw the biggest fall of 45.9%, followed by the steel industry, at 41.6%.

By prefecture, Wakayama saw the biggest drop in the number of job-seeking students, at 20.6%, followed by Okinawa, at 16.9%, and Niigata, at 16.3%.

In Yamanashi Prefecture, the number of job openings fell 28.4%, the biggest among the country’s 47 prefectures. Yamagata saw the smallest decline, at 9.8%.

The number of students who received informal job offers sagged 9.9% to 97,810. The proportion of those with informal job offers among all job-seeking high school students rose 0.2 percentage point to 64.2%.

This year, the Sept. 16 starting date for companies to start their employment screenings or give informal job offers was put off by one month due to the pandemic. The latest survey was thus conducted as of the end of October. The survey is usually carried out at the end of September.

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