Unemployment Rate Below 4.0% for the First Time in 9 Years
Friday, June 15, 2007 Posted: 02:11 PM JST
On May 29, the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications published the results (preliminary report) of its Labour Force Survey. According to the findings, the (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for April was 3.8 percent, down by 0.2 percentage points from the previous month, falling below 4.0 percent for the first time in nine years and one month since March 1998.
The unemployment rate for males was 4.0 percent (a drop of 0.1 percentage points from the previous month), and that for females 3.6 percent (a drop of 0.3 percentage points). The number of jobless persons declined by 160,000 from the previous year to 2.68 million. The number of those who are job-hunting - unemployed persons who lost their jobs due to bankruptcies of or restructuring measures by their previous companies, or other reasons on the part of their previous employers - fell by 110,000 from the previous year to 580,000, and those who quit their jobs due to job-switching or personal reasons fell by 60,000 over the same period to 970,000.
Despite all this, the proportion of non-regular employees has increased by more than 33 percent over the last five years, and the annual incomes of part-time and various other non-regular employees are undoubtedly fairly low. At the same time, regional gaps in incomes have been widening, hence amplifying the problems related to unemployment. The current downward trend in unemployment therefore does not create a unreserved feeling of relieve.
* * *