TOKYO, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Japan's unemployment rate increased to 3.1 percent in October, the highest level in more than three years, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to adversely affect businesses, government data showed Tuesday.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the total number of unemployed people in the country increased 80,000 to 2.14 million.
The unemployment rate for men increased to 3.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, up 0.2 point from September, while that for women remained unchanged at 2.7 percent, the latest data showed.
Meanwhile, the job availability ratio rose to 1.04 from 1.03 in September, which means that there were 104 job vacancies for every 100 job seekers. It marked the first improvement since April 2019, as hiring began to pick up despite worries over the economic outlook amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Japanese government has launched a subsidy program to help struggling companies by trying to keep workers employed through the payment of subsidies. According to some economists, it has shielded the labor market from a more severe hit.
The program is expected to be extended to February as part of an extra budget for the current fiscal year through next March.