Japan's unemployment rate improved to 2.9% in November, dropping for the first time in five months in a sign that the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the labor market is easing, government data showed Friday.

Separate data from the labor ministry showed the job availability ratio in the reporting month improved to 1.06 from 1.04 in the previous month, up for the second straight month. The ratio means there were 106 job openings in November for every 100 job seekers.

The jobless rate fell from 3.1% in October, down for the first time since it dipped 0.1 point from the previous month to 2.8% in June, when economic activity resumed following the complete lifting of a state of emergency over the virus in late May.