Japan’s unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent last month from 4.3 percent in July for the first improvement in two months, the government said Friday, although it denied the result would immediately allow optimism about the economy.
The seasonally adjusted data was almost in line with market forecasts that ranged from around 4.2 percent to 4.4 percent. Analysts doubted the momentum of the improvement will be sustained because of signs of economic slowdown, particularly weaker exports and production.
The decline of the jobless rate, said the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, was due mainly to those who stopped looking for jobs for the time being amid the deteriorating economic environment.
The improvement “was not caused by increasing employment, but by people who left the job market, and we need to closely watch future developments,” a ministry official said.
Backing the assessment, the number of people employed fell 60,000, or 0.1 percent, to 62.63 million for the second straight month of decline, while the number of those designated as unemployed was down 100,000, or 3.5 percent, to 2.72 million, the first decrease in two months.
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