Japan’s unemployment rate rises in April for 1st time in 6 months amid virus emergency

TOKYO . Japan’s unemployment rate increased to 2.8 percent in April, marking the first rise in six months, as hiring in the service sector dropped under the country’s third state of emergency, the government said in a report on Friday.  

 According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the jobless rate jumped from March’s reading of 2.6 percent, although remained below February’s reading of 2.9.    

 From a year earlier, the total number of people out of work increased by 200,000 to 2.09 million, while those gainfully employed climbed by 290,000 to 66.57 million, the ministry’s data showed.    

 The accommodation and restaurant services sector saw the largest number of job losses, leaping by 200,000 from the previous year to 3.53 million, the ministry said.    

 A third state of emergency was declared in Tokyo and three western prefectures in late April. Under the declaration, people were urged to work from home and refrain from making unnecessary trips across prefectural lines.    

The state of emergency and overall drop in patronage in service sector-related businesses including bars and restaurants triggered layoffs and stifled hiring, the ministry indicated.    

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said separately, meanwhile, the job availability ratio in April dropped to 1.09 from 1.10 a month earlier.   

This equates to there being 109 available job openings for every 100 people seeking work.    

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