— Japan Mar Jobless Rate 4.5%; Feb 4.5%; MNI Forecast 4.5%
— Japan Mar Employment -230,000 Y/Y Vs Feb -400,000
— Japan Mar Employment Posts 4th Y/Y Drop In Row

TOKYO (MNI) – Japan’s national average unemployment rate stood at
4.5% in March, unchanged from February, although the number of employed
continued to shrink from year-earlier levels, data from the Ministry of
Internal Affairs and Communications showed Friday.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March came in line
with the median forecast for 4.5% in a survey of economists by MNI.

The March figure matched the 4.5% unemployment rate in February and
both November and December last year but was still higher than 4.4% in
October and 4.2% in September.

In March, the number of payroll jobs fell by 170,000 (-0.3%) from
the previous month to a seasonally adjusted 62.71 million, marking the
first month-on-month drop in two months following +290,000 in February.

The adjusted number of unemployed fell by 10,000, or 0.3%, to 2.97
million in March, compared with -70,000 (+2.3%) at 2.98 million in

Looking at the longer-term trend, the unadjusted number of employed
people fell 230,000 on year to 62.15 million in March, posting the
fourth straight year-on-year drop, but the pace of decline decelerated
from -400,000 in February.

The workforces continued to shrink in wholesale and retail trade,
and hotels and restaurants, offsetting gains in information and
communications as well as medical, health care and welfare.

Meanwhile, the unadjusted number of jobless workers fell 150,000 on
year to 3.07 million in March, after falling 140,000 in February. It was
a 22nd consecutive drop.

The data also showed that the number of those who lost their jobs
and were looking for work fell from year-earlier levels in March after
being flat in February, and the number of people who quit their job
voluntarily to look for other openings dropped for the first in two

Effective with September 2011 data, the government resumed
releasing the national average unemployment rate based on figures from
all the 47 prefectures, including earthquake-hit areas that were
previously excluded from the data.

The government compiled employment and unemployment data from March
to August 2011 without records from the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima
prefectures, the hardest hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that
wrecked the northeastern Pacific coast.

** MNI Tokyo Newsroom: 81-3-5403-4833 **

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