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Japan jobless rate unchanged at 2.9% as policy shift looms

Reducing 'unprecedented' government support seen as threat to household income

TOKYO -- Japan's jobless rate stood at 2.9% in February, unchanged from January, the Statistics Bureau said Tuesday, amid a state of emergency that lasted for 10 weeks through March 21.

The unemployment rate has been on the rise, from an average of 2.4% in 2019 to 2.8% in 2020, though the increase has been cushioned by the government's paycheck protection program, under which businesses that keep workers on the payroll receive subsidies.

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