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Japan's youth worst hit by country's COVID job losses in 2020

Unemployment rate stands at 2.9% in December, up 0.7 point for year

Japan's overall jobs market has weathered the pandemic so far but young part-timers are suffering the brunt of restaurant and pub closures. (Photo by Shihoko Nakaoka)

TOKYO -- Japan's jobs market seems to have dodged a worse fate in December, with the unemployment rate coming in at 2.9%, unchanged from the previous month.

The figure, released by the Statistics Bureau on Friday, represents an increase from 2.2% a year ago. Still, the unemployment rate has been kept relatively low as the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pulled out all stops to keep people in jobs and businesses from going under. "The jobs market is still in a gradual downturn," said Takuya Hoshino, an economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

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