Accessibility links

Japan: Unemployment Reaches All Time High - 2001-11-30

Japan's jobless rate hit an all-time high in October, climbing to 5.4 percent. The politically sensitive number reflects the challenges facing the Japanese government, which has vowed to improve the economy.

The total number of workers in Japan fell by more than one million from one year ago to about 64 million people. Job offers also dropped, with just 55 positions available for almost twice as many applicants.

Manufacturers, telecommunications operators and transportation companies shed hundreds of thousands of jobs last month to become more profitable. The data show that many middle-aged, full-time workers are losing their positions as companies restructure or go bankrupt.

Government spokesman Yasuo Fukuda told reporters Friday that Tokyo is looking for ways to create jobs. Fukuda says "the government is aiming to quickly set up measures to prevent unemployment. It also hopes the new public spending package, which was just passed into law, will help."

The government also said Friday that October consumer prices dropped .7 percent from the same period last year, the 25th consecutive monthly decline.

Friday's economic figures follow a government announcement that factory production fell to its worst level in 13 years.

The data underscore the struggles for Japanese policymakers, as they push forward with structural reforms, which are likely to cause more bankruptcies and higher unemployment.