Japan’s unemployment rate edged up to 2.5 per cent in January from 2.4 per cent in the previous month for the first rise in two months.

The number of those employed in January rose 1 per cent year-on-year to 66.28 million, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday.

The construction industry lost 350,000 jobs to a total of 4.7 million on payrolls and wholesale and retail sectors saw a decrease of 80,000 positions to 10.6 million, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the availability of jobs, measured as the ratio of positions offered per job seeker, stood at 1.63 in January, unchanged for three months in a row, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Japan has suffered a serious worker shortage among an ageing population.