Japan govt.: Nearly 80,000 jobs lost due to virus

Japan's labor ministry says nearly 80,000 people in the country have lost or are about to lose their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ministry has been checking for cases of workers who were laid off or did not have their contracts renewed because their employers are struggling with deteriorating business performance.

Officials found that 78,153 people faced or were about to face unemployment between the end of January and December 21.

They believe the actual figure is likely higher, as the number includes only cases known to regional labor bureaus and public job placement offices.

Data as of last Friday show the manufacturing sector was hit the hardest, with 15,672 jobs lost. Pubs and restaurants were next, with 10,935 workers let go.

In the retail sector, 10,384 people were laid off, while 9,605 hotel workers and 5,084 workers at temp agencies also lost their jobs.

By prefecture, Tokyo had the largest number of people laid off, at 19,005, followed by Osaka with 6,581.

The number of non-regular workers, including part-timers, who faced unemployment due to the pandemic between May 25 and last Friday stood at 37,460.

Ministry officials are urging businesses to use government subsidy programs to keep employees on their payroll. The government is also providing support to help the unemployed find new jobs.