TOKYO, April 30 (The Japan Times/ANN): The decline in Japan’s average job availability ratio in fiscal 2020 was the largest in nearly half a century, with the unemployment rate up for the first time in 11 years, reflecting the serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, government data showed Friday.
The job-to-applicant ratio for the year ending in March dropped 0.45 point to 1.10, the sharpest decline since a 0.76 point drop in fiscal 1974 recorded following the 1973 global oil crisis, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. The ratio means there were 110 job openings for every 100 job seekers.
Down for the second straight year after falling 0.07 point the previous fiscal year, the latest ratio was the worst showing since 0.97, marked in fiscal 2013.
The average jobless rate, released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, stood at 2.9%, up 0.6 percentage point from fiscal 2019. The latest figure shows the first and the largest rise since fiscal 2009, when it jumped 1.1 points to 5.2%.
The number of unemployed people increased by 360,000 to 1.98 million, while the number of people in work dropped by 690,000 to 66.64 million.
The domestic employment situation began to worsen significantly around April of last year, when the government declared its first state of emergency over the novel coronavirus. The state of emergency was in place across the while country for about a month through mid-May, requesting that people stay at home and for nonessential businesses to suspend operations.
The measure led the world’s third-largest economy to contract an annualized real 29.3% in the April-June period in 2020 compared with the previous quarter, its worst recession on record.
In March alone the unemployment rate was 2.6%, down 0.3 point from February, with the job availability ratio logging 1.10, up 0.01 point.