Japan’s low jobless rate masks grim reality

Japan’s low jobless rate masks grim reality

Japan\'s low jobless rate masks grim reality

Japanese employers are scrambling to find staff, unemployment is at its lowest level in more than two decades and the labor market is tighter than it was during Japan’s booming bubble economy years.

This should be great news for the world’s number three economy, but analysts are warning not to pop the champagne quite yet because it is mostly due to a shrinking labor force. And many jobs are temporary and pay very little.

Japan tied with Iceland in 2016 for the lowest annual unemployment rate — 3.1% — among 35 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

This week Japanese government figures showed the jobless rate at 2.8% in April for the third consecutive month and the lowest since 1994.

Another key labor market measurement — the ratio of job offers to job seekers — hit 1.48, meaning there were 148 positions available for every 100 job hunters.

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