Tuesday, July 29, 2014 1:47 am
TOKYO – Japan’s jobless rate rose for the first time in almost a year in June, while the ratio of job offers to job seekers hit a 22-year high, official data showed Tuesday.
The unemployment rate edged up to 3.7 percent in June from 3.5 percent in the previous month, the internal affairs ministry said.
It was the first increase since August 2013 when the rate rose to 4.1 percent.
Markets had expected the June unemployment rate to remain flat from its May level of 3.5 percent, which was the lowest since late 1997.
A separate survey from the labour ministry showed the ratio of job offers to job seekers stood at 1.10 in June, meaning there were 110 job offers for every 100 job hunters.
It was the highest rate since June 1992, according to the labour ministry.
The rise in both job offers and joblessness suggests more people have started seeking work as they see the labour market improving, leading them to be counted as job-seekers, which pushes up the unemployment rate.
The internal affairs ministry also said household spending fell 3.0 percent year-on-year in June.
The fall was smaller than drops of 8.0 percent in May and 4.6 percent in April, just after the nation’s sales tax was hiked for the first time in 17 years.
The tax was lifted to 8.0 percent from 5.0 percent on April 1 in a bid to help shrink Japan’s mammoth national debt, one of the heaviest burdens among wealthy nations.