Japan’s job availability ratio improved for the 10th straight month in October, with the economy continuing to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Tuesday.
The job availability ratio rose 0.01 point from September to 1.35 in October led by the service sector, meaning there were 135 job openings for every 100 job seekers, according to data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The figures came after the government in October relaxed COVID-19 border controls for travelers arriving from overseas and started implementing a domestic tourism subsidy program for residents of Japan.
Japan saw its seventh wave of coronavirus infections in the summer, but it peaked out in September.
The accommodation and restaurant sector saw the steepest rise in job offers in the reporting month, up 29.3 percent from a year earlier, followed by an 11.7 percent increase in the wholesale and retail sector, according to the labor ministry data.
The number of job seekers declined 0.8 percent from the previous month, according to the ministry.
“The recovery trend in the labor market continues, while demand has not fully returned to pre-pandemic levels,” said Saisuke Sakai, senior economist at Mizuho Research & Technologies Ltd.
“The unemployment rate is expected to gradually decline further from now on as a recovery in demand will be in full swing soon, led by the service sector,” Sakai said, noting that labor shortages will become serious in areas such as hotels and food services.
“Those employers will need to secure enough manpower by offering more attractive wages,” Sakai said.
Separate data released the same day by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed the country’s unemployment rate stood at 2.6 percent in October, unchanged from the previous month.
While the jobless rate remained unchanged, the number of unemployed people in October dropped 50,000, or 2.7 percent, from the previous month to 1.78 million on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the ministry.
Among them, 650,000 voluntarily left their jobs, down 11.0 percent from the previous month, while 410,000 left involuntarily.
The unemployment rate stood at 2.8 percent among men, unchanged from the previous month, while the rate among women fell 0.1 point to 2.3 percent, the data showed.
Looking ahead, Sakai said the manufacturing sector is expected to face difficulties into next year due to concerns about recessions overseas, which could lead to a temporary slump in labor demand compared with the service sector.
A full recovery of labor demand in all sectors is still to come, he said.