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Economy

Japan's jobs-to-applicants ratio soars to 43-year high

Unemployment also rises for the first time in six months

Japan's declining population continues to drive up the jobs-to-applicants ratio.

TOKYO -- Japan's active job openings-to-applicants ratio was 1.49 in May on seasonally adjusted terms, according to data released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Friday.

The latest reading is up 0.01 percentage point from April, the third consecutive month it has risen. The uptick mirrors the April ratio, which hit its highest point since February 1974.

The ratio exceeds that of the early 1990s, during Japan's bubble economy. 

The latest data underscores the country's continuing labor shortage due to its aging and declining population. The ratio was higher than the market prediction of 1.48 compiled by QUICK.

May's new job openings decreased 0.1% over the month, but the decrease in job seekers was higher at minus 0.9%. By sector, job openings in manufacturing, transport and postal, and service sectors rose notably. 

Meanwhile, Japan's unemployment rate in May was 3.1% on seasonally adjusted terms, up 0.3 percentage point from the previous month, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said Friday.

The median forecast compiled by QUICK was 2.8%.

On seasonally adjusted terms, the number of unemployed totaled 2.05 million, up 190,000 from a month ago. The number of workers was 65.2 million, down 30,000.

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