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Monthly unemployment rate in Japan July 2020

At 2.4 percent in January 2020, Japan’s unemployment rate is very low. The fact that it has remained this low for a full year would concern most economists in any other country. However, since Japan has been fighting deflation for many years, the normal rationale does not apply.

Causes of unemployment

Unemployment can arise from an economic recession, when demand falls and firms lay off workers. It can also be the result of workers and firms not matching, such as there being too many lawyers and not enough doctors in an area. Finally, search unemployment refers to the time between a worker ending one job and starting another. Economists consider this to be efficient in most cases because it gives firms and workers the time to find the best match.

The Japanese context

Japan’s inflation rate has remained stubbornly low since the 1990s, sometimes even becoming negative - or deflation. This has caused firms to delay investment and consumers to delay major purchases, which has in turn led to low GDP growth. In most economies, this would lead to high inflation. However, given the decreasing population and thus the decreasing workforce, it is possible that firms are retaining workers due to labor scarcity. It is also possible that low unemployment is a product of high government spending or low workforce participation. In any event, this statistic underscores the unique situation of the Japanese economy.

Japan: Unemployment rate from July 2019 to July 2020

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Release date

September 2020



Survey time period

July 2019 to July 2020

Age group

15 years and older

Special properties

Seasonally adjusted

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Statistics on "Japan"

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