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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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