Japan's companies increased hiring in 2023

Japanese companies are hiring more people as the economy bounces back from a coronavirus downturn. The increase has yet to surpass pre-pandemic levels for jobs as businesses struggle with higher materials costs.

The labor ministry says the ratio of openings to job seekers increased for the second straight year in 2023 to 1.31. That means there were 131 positions offered for every 100 applicants. It's an uptick of 0.03 points from 2022.

The ratio marks the second annual gain in a row.

Ministry officials say hotels and restaurants are bringing on more workers. But they say manufacturers and construction companies are reducing their workforces as materials costs rise.