Japan’s unemployment rate improved to 3.6 percent in February from 3.7 percent the previous month, government data showed Friday, indicating an expansion in corporate profits has prompted companies to hire more workers on the back of the nascent economic recovery.
The figure is the lowest since July 2007, before the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008 caused the global financial crisis and hurt Japan’s economy.
The number of unemployed people fell a seasonally adjusted 3.7 percent from a month earlier to 2.33 million, as those quitting jobs involuntarily fell 5.0 percent to 760,000, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in a preliminary report.
The number of people holding jobs rose 0.2 percent to 63.32 million, it said.
“As the economy is in good shape, the number of employees has been steadily increasing,” a ministry official briefing reporters said.
Separate data showed job availability improved for the 15th straight month. The ratio of employment offers to seekers rose to 1.05 in February from 1.04 in January, which means 105 positions were available for every 100 job seekers.
By industry, the medical and welfare field and the information and communication sector added 230,000 and 190,000 jobs from a year earlier, respectively, while transport and postal services cut 140,000 jobs, the internal affairs ministry said.
A confident corporate sector has been driving the pickup in Japan’s labor market, with consumer spending growing prior to the 3-percentage-point sales tax hike to 8 percent from April 1, analysts said.
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