Japan's unemployment rate rose to 2.6% in May from 2.5% in April, marking the first increase in four months, the internal affairs ministry said Friday, as people searched for new jobs amid the gradual economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The job availability ratio stood at 1.24, up 0.01 point from the previous month, showing an improvement for the fifth straight month, the labor ministry said separately. The ratio means there were 124 job openings for every 100 job-seekers.

"Many people left jobs in search of better conditions amid easing coronavirus-related restrictions," an internal affairs ministry official told reporters.