• Kyodo


Japan’s jobless rate fell from the previous month to 2.7% in October as numbers of workers in the food service and accommodation sectors increased with the nationwide lifting of coronavirus states of emergency in the reporting month, government data showed Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate edged down from September’s 2.8%, improving for the first time since July, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

The job-to-applicant ratio declined to 1.15 from the previous month’s 1.16, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. The ratio means there were 115 job openings for every 100 job-seekers.

Economic activities are gradually returning to normal following the Oct. 1 lifting of the regional states of emergency, under which people were asked to refrain from nonessential outings and restaurants and bars were asked to close earlier.

“The number of workers in the accommodation and food service field — hit hard by the pandemic — was still lower than that of the previous year,” a government official said, noting that last year the Go To Travel and Go To Eat subsidy programs to support the tourism and restaurant industries were in place.

“But the number of those who were furloughed in the field declined this month (from the previous month), reflecting a positive effect of the removal of the declaration,” he said.

The number of workers, unadjusted for seasonal factors, in accommodation and food service fell 10.7% from a year earlier to 3.66 million, but the number temporarily absent from work in the same sector was 120,000, down from 360,000 in the previous month.

In other industries, the number of workers in the lifestyle and entertainment services sector fell 10.6%, while the wholesale and retail workforce saw a 3.0% decline.

The number of workers continued to grow in the telecommunication industry and medical and welfare fields, up 9.9% and 1.8% from a year earlier to log the 20th and 15th consecutive monthly increases, respectively.

The latest data showed the total number of people in work fell a seasonally adjusted 240,000 from the previous month to 66.24 million, decreasing for the third straight month.

The number of unemployed declined from September for the second consecutive month, to 1.82 million. Among them, 700,000 people voluntarily left their jobs, up 10,000, while 480,000 were laid off, down 60,000, and 490,000 were new job-seekers, up 10,000.

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