TOKYO – Japan’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3 percent in September, while its industrial output rose by 4 percent with respect to the previous month, the Japanese government said on Friday.
The number of unemployed in Japan in the ninth month of 2020 was 2.1 million, an increase of 420,000 people (25 percent) year-on-year, according to figures from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
Those with jobs in the country in September totaled 66.89 million, which was 790,000 (1.7 percent) fewer compared to the same month of the previous year.
The number of jobs available for every 100 people seeking employment in Japan was 103 in September, one point less than in August.
This is the lowest level of the indicator in almost seven years, caused by the return of workers to the labor market with the gradual resumption of economic activities that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the decline in Japan’s job availability was lower than that of August and of May, when the indicator recorded its sharpest monthly drop in more than 46 years, triggered by the declaration of a state of emergency in the country in early April.
According to government sources, the data shows that the initial severe impact on the Japanese labor market has gradually eased, although the situation remains unfavorable even after the lifting of the state of emergency in late May.
“We can presume that most people who lost their job following the state of emergency were able to return to the labor market, instead of remaining jobless,” a government official said, according to Kyodo news agency.
Japan ended 2018 with an unemployment rate of 2.4 percent, but there has been an increase in the indicator in recent months due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.
Meanwhile, the country’s industrial output increased by 4 percent in September from the previous month, representing the fourth consecutive month of growth of the indicator.
The indicator declined by 9 percent as compared to the same month in 2019, according to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which nevertheless noted that industrial output was picking up.
The growth in September follows a 1 percent month-on-month increase in August and an 8.7 percent month-on-month increase in July, according to revised figures.
The industries that contributed most to the rise in output in the ninth month of 2020 were motor vehicles, production and electrical machinery and information and communication electronics equipment.
On the other hand, general-purpose and business-oriented machinery and inorganic and organic chemicals were the sectors that had the most negative impact.
According to data from a survey of national companies conducted by the ministry, Japan’s industrial output is expected to increase by 4.5 percent in October – more than the previous estimate of 2.9 percent – and by 1.2 percent in November.
Industrial production measures the productivity of Japanese factories, considered a key measure of the Asian country’s economic health, as it relies mainly on the manufacturing sector.