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Economy

Japan's April jobless rate falls to 2.4%

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's unemployment rate edged down to 2.4 percent in April as workers had success in finding new positions in recent months amid improving labor conditions, government data showed Friday.

The jobless rate fell 0.1 percentage point from March, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The male unemployment rate declined 0.3 point from the previous month to 2.5 percent. The jobless rate for women rose 0.1 percent to 2.3 percent.

Although the unemployment rate among women was slightly up in the reporting month, an internal affairs ministry official told reporters the percentage of the working-age women with jobs remains high.

The percentage of the working-age population between 15 and 64 years old with jobs was 60.5 percent, up 0.4 point from a year earlier. The percentage for men in that age range was 84.0 percent and hit a record-high 70.6 percent for women.

The job availability ratio stood at 1.63, unchanged from March, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said. The ratio means there were 163 openings for every 100 job seekers.

The figures continue to reflect the seriousness of the country's labor crunch, driven by its rapidly graying population.

The seasonally-adjusted number of unemployed stood at 1.68 million in the reporting month, down 60,000 from a month earlier.

Among them, 750,000 people voluntarily left their jobs in April, down 80,000 from the previous month. The number of new job-seekers fell 10,000 to 360,000, while 380,000 people were laid off, up 20,000.

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