Japan’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.1%

Japan’s unemployment rate in October unexpectedly fell for a third month, a sign that the worst may be over for the labor market.

The jobless rate declined to 5.1 percent, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. The rate has been declining since reaching a postwar high of 5.7 percent in July.

More than 20 trillion yen ($230 billion) in stimulus spending helped the economy expand for a second quarter in the three months ended September. Even as the government steps up measures to support workers, today’s figures indicate that the growth spurred by exports and production is spreading through the world’s second-largest economy.

The job-to-applicant ratio, a leading indicator of employment trends, rose to 0.44, meaning there are only 44 positions for every 100 candidates, the Labor Ministry said today. The gauge plunged to a record low of 0.42 in July.

The improvement in the labor market hasn’t convinced Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama that jobs are secure. Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan said this week the government will ease conditions for employers to receive subsidies to keep people on their payrolls. The government has also pledged to create 100,000 jobs by March.

Younger people aren’t reaping the benefits of the improved labor market. The proportion of college students with job offers tumbled 7.4 percentage points from a year earlier to 62.4 percent, an Education Ministry report showed last week, the steepest drop since the survey started in 1996.

Japan’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.1%

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
11/27/2009 12:10:25 PM