Japan's Jan jobless rate rises, job availability hits 21-month-high
By Kantaro Komiya
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's jobless rate rose to 2.8% and a gauge of job availability grew to a 21-month-high in January, government data showed on Friday.
The mixed data came as firms in the world's third-largest economy conclude annual labour talks, while downside pressures from record coronavirus tolls and the Ukraine crisis overshadow the recovery outlook.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate compared with 2.7% in December, which was also the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.
The jobs-to-applicants ratio was 1.20 in January, labour ministry data showed, up 0.03 point from the previous month's 1.17 and higher than a Reuters poll forecast of 1.16.
The reading was the highest since 1.31 marked in April 2020.
A health ministry official said the growth in job openings - led by manufacturing and face-to-face service sectors - outpaced that of job-seekers because more companies had submitted postings data before domestic COVID-19 infections skyrocketed later in the month.
"The impact of the Omicron variant (outbreak), both on job openings and seekers, will be reflected in February's data," the official said.
(Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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