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Okinawa unemployment figures rise to one-year high

Date Posted: 2002-11-02

According to prefecture officials, the number of workless rose to 55,000 or 9.4 percent of the work force in September. That is the worst figure in a year. Officials at the Prefecture Department of Labor say that one of the big reasons is the closure of most of Dai-Ei department stores and its subsidiaries in Okinawa. The closure hurt especially women’s employment.

But they predict that the rise is only temporary. “The demand for new workers is also on the rise, and that’s good news. Considering this, we expect the jobless numbers to go down again next month,” an official said.

The jobless rate for men in Okinawa Prefecture is 9.7 percent while it stands at 8.9 percent for women. The business closures in September boosted the women’s figure by 1.8 percent, but the newest San-A super mall “Naha Main Place” alone that opened Oct. 1 provides jobs for 650 people, most of them women.

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