TOKYO – Japan’s unemployment rate remained at 2.4 percent in October while its industrial production shrank by 4.2 percent, the Japanese government said on Friday.
The number of unemployed last month was 1.64 million, an increase of 10,000 people – or 0.6 percent – year-on-year, according to data released by the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
The number of employed people in October 2019 was 67.87 million, an increase of 620,000 from the previous year and 0.9 percent more than in October 2019.
The number of available jobs per 100 job-seekers in Japan was 157, the same as in September.
This figure reflects the persistent rigidity of the Japanese labor market and represents an obstacle to the growth of the world’s third-largest economy, whose population is undergoing a rapid aging process as a growing number of companies attempt to cope with the shortage of labor.
Japan closed off 2018 with the same unemployment rate of 2.4 percent.
Meanwhile, industrial production contracted by 4.2 percent relative to the preceding month, according to the ministry, which acknowledged in its monthly report that production had weakened.
This key indicator shrank by 7.2 percent year-on-year.
The industries that contributed most to the decline in output were motor vehicles, general-purpose and business-oriented machinery and production machinery.
On the other hand, the most significant increases were in electronic parts and devices, petroleum and coal products, ceramics, stone and clay products.
According to data from a survey of domestic companies conducted by the ministry, Japanese industrial production is expected to fall by 1.5 percent in November but then increase by 1.1 percent in December.
Industrial production measures the productivity of Japanese factories, considered a key measure of the Asian country’s economic health, as it relies mainly on the manufacturing sector.