Japan’s Jobless Rate Rises to 3.9%

Japan’s unemployment rate rose in November as plunging exports prompted companies to fire workers.

The jobless rate climbed to 3.9 percent from 3.7 percent in October, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of 34 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for 4 percent. Household spending fell 0.5 percent from a year earlier.

Toyota Motor Corp., Sony Corp. and Canon Inc. announced staff cuts over the past two months in response to the sharpest- ever decline in exports. Economists say more jobs are on the line as the recession deepens, making it unlikely consumers at home will keep the economy afloat as demand from abroad falters.

Renesas Technology Corp., the world’s largest privately held chipmaker, yesterday said it plans to eliminate all 1,000 of its temporary staff by March 31. Sanyo Electric Co. said it will cut 460 temporary positions.

The ratio of jobs available to each applicant dropped for a 10th month to 0.76, extending the longest losing streak since 1998, the Labor Ministry said today, underscoring why consumer sentiment fell to a record low last month. Weaker personal spending, which accounts for more than half of the economy, is prompting some retailers to reconsider their investments.

Companies reported that they have too many employees for the first time since 2005, the central bank’s quarterly Tankan business survey showed last week. Toyota expects its first operating loss in 71 years and plans to cut 3,000 jobs.

Japan’s Jobless Rate Rises to 3.9%

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
12/29/2008 8:15:24 AM