For global markets Friday may be all about the closely-watched U.S. monthly jobs data, but the latest employment figures from the world's number three economy are not to be ignored.
Data released earlier Friday showed Japan's jobless rate at 3.6 percent in March, holding steady from February when it hit lows last seen in July 2007. Separate figures showed the jobs-to-applicants ratio rise to 1.07 from 1.05 in February, showing that the availability of jobs continues to improve.
The numbers are important, say economists, because they suggest Japan's labor market is reaching a point where it should boost wages, helping to underpin consumption at a time when shoppers have just been whacked with a rise in the sales tax.
"The unemployment rate is at cycle lows and at these levels is close to full employment, so we should start to see upward pressure on wages," said HSBC Japan Economist Izumi Devalier.
Friday's U.S. jobs data meanwhile is expected to show the unemployment rate at 6.7 percent in April, unchanged from March.