Japan's unemployment rate was steady at 2.8 percent in March, unchanged from the rate recorded in February, and just below the consensus forecast of 2.9 percent. This is the lowest official unemployment rate Japan has seen since the mid-1990s.
The number of employed persons in March was up 690,000 (1.1 percent) compared with the same month last year, while the number of unemployed persons has fallen by 280,000 (13.0 percent) over this period. Japan's participation rate was unchanged at 57.9 percent in March.
Today's data shows that Japan's labour market is continuing to generating strong employment growth, with officials at the Bank of Japan noting at their policy meeting yesterday that "the tightening of labour market conditions is becoming even more evident". They expect further tightening to take place over the near-term, supporting their forecast for price pressures to pick up gradually.
The Unemployment Rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force. The unemployment rate is part of the Labour Force Survey which also includes employment data.
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.