Japan’s Unemployment Rate Steady at 3% in October

Japan’s unemployment rate was unchanged in October, while job availability edged up slightly, pointing to continued strength in the domestic labour market.

The unemployment rate came in at 3% in October, unchanged from the previous month, Tokyo’s Statistics Bureau reported on Tuesday. A median estimate of economists also called for no change.

Unemployment has been creeping lower for most of the year and has remained below 3.5% since the first quarter of 2015.

The country’s job availability ratio, which is obtained by dividing monthly job openings by the number of active applications, rose to 1.4 from 1.38. This means 140 job openings were available for every 100 job-seekers.

Japan’s employment picture remains robust despite a moribund economy struggling with deflation and weak underlying growth. Gross domestic product (GDP) accelerated in the third quarter, growing at an annualized 2.2%. However, the underlying trend remained weak, casting further doubts about the sustainability of the economic recovery.

A steady labour market has not translated into faster consumer spending, as Japan continues to struggle with deflationary pressures. A separate gauge on Tuesday showed that overall household spending declined 0.4% in the 12 months through October, following a 2.1% annualized drop the prior month. Economists were expecting a year-over-year decline of 0.6%.

Sam Bourgi is a financial market analyst for economiccalendar.com. He has more than six years of progressive experience in economic and financial analysis, research consulting and sectoral analysis. As a published author in government, peer-reviewed, online and industry sources, he has developed a fundamental approach to the financial markets with a broad focus on stock indices, commodities and the technology sector. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Windsor and Master’s degree from McMaster University.