January 28, 2010 / 11:44 PM / 9 years ago

Japan jobless rate falls to 5.1 pct, job availability up

(For more stories on the Japanese economy, click [ID:nECONJP])

TOKYO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Japan’s jobless rate edged down in December and the availability of jobs improved for the fourth month in a row.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent from 5.2 percent in November, government figures showed on Friday. That was better than median market forecast of 5.3 percent.

The jobless rate hit a record high of 5.7 percent in July. [JPUNR=ECI]

The jobs-to-applicants ratio improved slightly for the fourth consecutive month, rising to 0.46 from 0.45 in November. [JPJOBA=ECI]

But that still meant less than five jobs were available for every 10 applicants and was not far from the record low of 0.42 marked in July and August. The reading matched economists’ median estimate.

The number of new job offers rose 1.5 percent in December from previous month but was still 17.4 percent down from a year ago. (Reporting by Rie Ishiguro)

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