Japan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down to 2.3% in September, a slight decrease from 2.4% in August and a four-month low, according to data from the Statistics Bureau.
Meanwhile, the availability of jobs improved to the highest level since January 1974. The jobs-to-applicants ratio rose to 1.64 from 1.63 in August.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rate in Japan stood at 2.4%, down 0.4% from the same period last year. Meanwhile, data from Statistics Bureau found that the number of unemployed persons in September 2018 was 1.62 million, a decrease of 280,000 or 14.7% from the previous year.
The number of employed persons in September 2018 was 67.15 million, an increase of 1.19 million or 1.8% from the previous year.
Marcel Thielant, senior Japan economist for Capital Economics, told the Financial Times that the jobless rate “may not fall any further”.
“Our view remains that the jobless rate will be around 2% by the time of next year’s sales tax hike, which means that wage growth may approach 2%, from 1.4% in August,” Thielant said. “But we expect the labour market to loosen again as domestic demand slumps after the tax hike so wage growth probably won’t reach the 2.5% annual pace required to meet the Bank of Japan’s 2% inflation target.
Labour shortages in Japan have prompted Shinzo Abe’s government to consider new visas to allow overseas blue-collar workers to plug gaps in the labour market.