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Japan's unemployment rate increases to 2.8 pct as COVID-19 hits labour market



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Today Markets - File photo

TOKYO, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Japan's jobless rate rose marginally to 2.8 per cent in January, the government said in a report on Friday, owing to increasing cases of COVID-19 negatively impacting the labour market.

From the previous month, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage point as a number of prefectures in the reporting period were placed under a COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency to combat the spread of the highly-contagious Omicron variant of the virus, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, meanwhile, reported Friday the job availability ratio in the reporting period rose from a revised 1.17 in December to 1.20. This equates to there being 120 job openings for every 100 people seeking employment.

According to the statistics bureau, in January the total number of people out of work in Japan rose by 40,000, which was a 2.1 per cent increase from a month earlier to 1.9 people million unemployed people.

Of the total, those leaving the jobs of their own volition totalled 710,000 people, rising by 10,000 people, while those laid off totalled 590,00 people, jumping by 60,000 from a month earlier.

The number of new job seekers, the ministry said, stood at 490,000 people, the same figure for December.

"The impact of the coronavirus was especially seen in the lodging and eatery services sector, where 220,000 workers were absent in January, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the 590,000 people who were newly furloughed in the month," a ministry official was quoted as saying.

"Downward risks to the economy have increased and we must consider a scenario in which employment will be affected," the ministry official added, with reference to the ongoing pandemic.