June unemployment slipped to 3.1 percent from 3.2 percent in May, the lowest level since 1995. This is the lowest since a reading of 3.1 percent in July 1995. The job-to-applicant ratio rose to 1.37, the highest level since August 1991, but matched expectations it would rise to that level from May's 1.36. That suggests the level of job availability is still high, which analysts think could keep the unemployment rate low or push it lower over coming months. The Bank of Japan has previously singled out the labour market as one of the brighter spots as the national economy continues to "recover moderately".
The unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force.
The unemployment rate and employment change are carefully monitored. The employment data show the number employment along with the change in employment for the previous year. Monthly changes in employment also help clarify whether businesses are hiring. The unemployment rate is the percentage of the labor force that is unemployed. A lower jobless rate translates into more income earning workers and greater consumption. Increased spending is a positive for consumer oriented economic growth, something that has lagged in Japan.
By tracking the jobs data, investors can sense the degree of tightness in the job market. If wage inflation threatens, it's a good bet that interest rates will rise; bond and stock prices will fall. No doubt that the only investors in a good mood will be the ones who watched the employment report and adjusted their portfolios to anticipate these events.
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