Japan‘s unemployment rate increased 2.6 percent in April, marking a more-than-two-year high, while the availability of jobs sank to a four-year low, as the coronavirus pandemic caused numerous businesses to shutter their operations, the government said in a report on Friday.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the 2.6-percent increase in the recording period, the worst level since December 2017, came on the heel of a 2.5-percent increase logged a month earlier.
The ministry added that on a seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment figure stood at 1.78 million people in the recording period, rising by 60,000 from a month earlier.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, meanwhile, said Friday that the job availability ratio dropped for a fourth straight month to its lowest level since March 2016.
The ministry said that ratio stood at 1.32 in April compared to 1.39 in March, which translates to there being 132 job openings in the recording period for every 100 people looking for work.
“We have seen the significant influence of the new coronavirus epidemic so we have to keep closely monitoring the situation,” a government official was quoted as saying, with reference to the state of emergency over the coronavirus being declared in April leading to an increase in people out of work.
Employment in the wholesale and retail sectors were particularly hard hit, the figures showed, with the number of workers falling by 330,000 from a year earlier to 10.48 million.
The number of workers in the accommodation and restaurant services sector also saw hefty declines, dropping by 460,000 people to 3.73 million in the recording period.