Japan's Unemployment Rate Edges Up In November

Japan’s unemployment rate rose for the first time in four months in November, an indication job growth may not be strong enough to support the economy’s recovery from its deepest postwar recession.

The jobless rate climbed to 5.2 percent from 5.1 percent in October, the statistics bureau said in Tokyo.

In November, the unemployment rate was at 5.4% among males and 4.9% among females. The total number of unemployed persons declined to 3.31 million from 3.44 million.

At the same time, the number of employed persons edged down to 62.60 million from 62.71 million in the prior month, while total labor force strength slid to 65.91 million from 66.15 million.

More than $2 trillion in global stimulus spending has revived Japanese exports and production, fueling corporate sentiment in the world’s second-largest economy. The improvements haven’t spread to households, whose confidence is waning because of wage cuts and deflation.

Nevertheless, there are signs that the labor market won’t deteriorate further. The job-to-applicant ratio rose for a third month to 0.45, meaning there are 45 positions for every 100 candidates, the Labor Ministry said today. The report also showed there were 80 newly advertised jobs in November for every 100 people who started looking for a job that month, the most since January. Economists regard the gauge as a leading indicator of employment.

Analysts say manufacturers, who increased workers’ overtime hours for a seventh month in October to keep up with a jump in orders, will eventually need to hire more staff as exports improve. Shipments to Asia rose for the first time since September 2008 last month, a Finance Ministry report showed.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
12/28/2009 12:01:25 PM