Japan’s unemployment rate climbed to 2.9 percent in the month of May due to the coronavirus pandemic, highest in the last three years, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
The ministry earlier reported that the unemployment rate increased to 2.6 percent in the month of April.
Job availability in the country also dropped in May to its lowest level in nearly five years.
The job-to-applicant ratio worsened to 1.20 from 1.32 in April, down for the fifth straight month to hit its lowest level since July 2015, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The government in Japan asked its citizens in April to enter a state of lockdown and businesses were asked to temporarily shut operations to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Reportedly, the seasonally adjusted number of unemployed increased 190,000 from April to 1.97 million in Japan.
Among them, 740,000 voluntarily left their jobs, up 40,000 from a month earlier, while 520,000 were new job seekers, up 20,000, and another 520,000 were laid off, up 70,000.
Before seasonal adjustment, the number of people in work in April fell 760,000 from a year earlier to 66.56 million, down for the second straight month, including 29.54 million women, down 330,000.
Retail sales in Japan also fell 12.3 percent in May from a year earlier.
Takumi Tsunoda, senior economist at Shinkin Central Bank Research told the media, “Although consumption has picked up a little, there was a strong sense of caution towards the infection and customers were slow to come back.”
“I think consumption will decline compared to before the coronavirus outbreak,” she added.