The ranks of the unemployed rose to 3.17 million in December, up 470,000 in the same month a year earlier, the ministry said.
Japanese companies are firing fewer workers as exports recover from record declines in 2009. Even so, firms aren’t ready to hire again because they still have excess labor, an indication that the job recovery will be moderate, according to economist Junko Nishioka.
The job-to-applicant ratio rose for a fourth month to 0.46, meaning there are 46 positions for every 100 candidates, the Labor Ministry said today.
The same report showed there were 87 newly advertised jobs in December for every 100 people who started looking for work that month, the most since January. Economists regard the gauge as a leading indicator of employment.