Japan’s unemployment rate fell to a more than 22-year low of 2.8 percent in February, offering some hope for the country’s economy, government data showed Friday.
Japanese consumers, however, remained reluctant to loosen their purse strings, as household spending, a key indicator of private consumption, slipped 3.8 percent in the same month from a year earlier to 260,644 yen ($2,300), the internal affairs ministry said.
The February jobless rate fell slightly from the 3.0 percent level marked in January.
The country’s job availability, or the ratio of job offers to seekers, remained unchanged from January at 1.43, the best level since July 1991, according to labor ministry data. It means that 143 positions were available for every 100 job seekers.
The data comes as the economy continues to recover moderately while domestic demand remains lackluster. The government has been trying to encourage companies to boost wages and spur consumer spending.
Japan’s jobs market remains tight, with labor shortages prevalent in the nonmanufacturing sector such as medical and nursing care. The last time the jobless rate stood at 2.8 percent was June 1994.
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