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Economy

Japan jobless rate edges down despite COVID emergency

Labor market still under pressure despite signs of economic recovery

The restaurant and entertainment sectors have borne the brunt of job losses.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's jobless rate stood at 2.9% in January, compared with 3.0% in December, the Statistics Bureau said Tuesday, as strong government spending underpinned the economy amid a coronavirus state of emergency imposed since early in the year.

The steady decline in the unemployment rate from 3.1% in October comes despite a coronavirus state of emergency imposed on Jan. 7. The gain was driven by a recovery in the health care sector -- one of the nation's largest employers along with retail -- as people started visiting hospitals and nursing facilities amid easing concerns about COVID-19.

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