TOKYO: Japan’s jobless rate edged up to 3.8 per cent in July from 3.7 per cent in the previous month, official data showed on Friday (Aug 29). Markets had expected the July unemployment rate to remain flat at 3.7 per cent. The jobless rate had hit 3.5 per cent in May, 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 July, meaning there were 110 job offers for every 100 job hunters. It remained flat from the previous month, the highest rate since June 1992, according to the labour ministry.
The rise in 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 5.9 per cent year-on-year in July. Household spending slipped 3.0 per cent in June, 8.0 per cent in May and 4.6 per cent in April. The consecutive months of decline followed the nation’s first sales tax hike in 17 years.
The tax was raised to 8.0 per cent from 5.0 per cent on April 1 in a bid to help shrink Japan’s mammoth national debt, one of the heaviest burdens among wealthy nations.