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Japan Dec jobless rate falls to 3.7 pct, lowest since 2007

Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 | 6:33 PM ET

TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Japan's jobless rate fell to a six-year low in December and the availability of jobs improved to a six-year high, government data showed, suggesting that a tightening labour market could help the Bank of Japan meet its inflation target.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent from November's 4.0 percent, data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed on Friday. That compared with economists' median forecast of 3.9 percent.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio rose to 1.03 from 1.00 in November, exceeding the median forecast of 1.01 in a Reuters poll.

That marked the highest since September 2007, when the ratio also stood at 1.03.

The number of new job offers rose 2.8 percent in December from the previous month and was up 10.9 percent from the previous year.

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A full table can be seen on the ministry's website at:

http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/roudou/index.htm

(Note: The jobs-to-applicants ratio and new job offers can be seen in Japanese on the labour ministry's website.)

(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Edmund Klamann)