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Local unemployment down slightly

Date Posted: 1998-02-07

According to staistics released Tuesday, Okinawa's unemployment figure currently stands at 6.0%, down 0.5% from last year. The number of jobless dropped by 2,000 to 34,000 from last year's 36,000.

The most popular employer In Okinawa still seems to be U.S. military bases. According to officials at Naha City and Koza Public Employment Service, in May and November of last year, 450 workers were needed on American bases and more than 10,000 applications were received. Especially the young job seekers try to get employment on base because of the many benefits guaranteed to people who work on bases under the Master L:abor Contract that covers those whose salaries are paid by the Gopvernment og Japan. The lack of jobs in the economy prompts people to search for jobs where they can use their English skills they studied at school and overseas, improve their English, work in good conditions, and find friendships with Americans. Age does not seem to matter when working on U.S. installations. Wages are based on quality of work, unlike many Okinawan businesses which pay young adults less than others. Many young people on Okinawa hope the American military will stay on the island, ensuring some a life free of financial worries.

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