Japan’s Job Availability At Seven Year High

Japan’s job availability improved in April to its best level in over seven years while the unemployment rate stayed at a low level, underscoring that companies are eager to hire more workers amid an economy recovery despite a consumption tax hike, the government said Friday.

The ratio of employment offers to seekers climbed for the 17th straight month to 1.08 in the reporting month from 1.07 in March, which means 108 positions were available for every 100 job seekers, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

It was the highest level since July 2006, before the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008 triggered the global financial crisis, undermining Japan’s economic growth.

The country’s unemployment rate was flat at 3.6 percent in April from the previous month, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in a preliminary report.

The number of unemployed people was a seasonally adjusted 2.36 million, the same as in March, though that of people holding jobs edged down 0.4 percent to 63.23 million, the internal affairs ministry said.

Japan’s job market “has continued picking up as firms have become willing to boost employment on the back of the economic recovery,” an official at the ministry said.

The pace of improvement in the unemployment rate, however, may slow ahead as the first consumption tax hike in 17 years on April 1 is expected to take a toll on the economy and make the corporate sector shy away from expanding employment opportunities, some analysts said.

“The latest data, such as retail sales and industrial output figures, have suggested the tax increase has been dampening domestic demand,” said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at the Norinchukin Research Institute.

via Mainichi

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza