Japan’s jobless rate edges up to 3.4 per cent

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Japan’s unemployment rate nudged up to 3.4 per cent in August compared to last year, official figures showed Friday, as the government struggles to put the economy back on a path to sustained growth.

Manufacturing positions fell by 240,000 to 10.12 million, and the construction industry saw a drop of 150,000 employees to 4.91 million, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

The unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points compared to the previous year, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, household spending in Japan rose year-on-year by 2.9 per cent, for the first rise in three months.

The availability of jobs – measured as the ratio of job offers per job seeker – climbed to 1.23 in August from 1.21 in the previous month, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said.

The number of temporary and part-time workers rose by 240,000 to 19.72 million while that of regular employees also climbed by 240,000 to 33.29 million, government figures showed.

Critics say unstable forms of employment, especially among women and young people, are among the most pressing issues facing the world’s third-largest economy, and link the lack of secure posts to low marriage and birth rates.

The proportion of such irregular workers was at 37 per cent in August, and such ratios among young people were higher, official reports showed.

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