The number of people in Japan out of work in July was down from a year earlier, according to the latest government data. It was the first year-on-year improvement in 18 months.
The internal affairs ministry says the seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 2.8 percent in July, down from 2.9 percent a year ago. It was also down from 2.9 percent June, and the second straight monthly improvement.
There were 1.91 million jobless people in July, 60,000 fewer than last year.
Officials at the labor ministry say the ratio of job openings to job seekers was 1.15. That means there were 115 openings for every 100 applicants.
It was a slight improvement from June.
But officials say the real reason is that fewer people went looking for work amid the pandemic, and the number of job offers hasn't risen that much.