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White-Collar Job Placement Agencies Hold Promise to Improve Job Matching in the Labor Market
by Yuko Shozugawa
Social Development Research Group
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1. Introduction

According to the 2001 Labor Force Survey (Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications), the average unemployment level rose last year by 200,000 to 3.4 million persons, while the unemployment rate hit a record 5.0% since records were begun in 1953) Moreover, of the 64.12 million employed persons, 5.68 million on average wanted to change jobs (up 150,000 from the previous year), while 2.62 million of them actually looked for jobs (up 50,000). Thus the 10.3% of employed persons who want to change jobs was also the highest on record since 1968.

Given the rising unemployment rate and growing number of job changers, we must seek ways to alleviate labor mismatching by age and occupation, and enable the labor market to adapt as quickly as possible to new growth areas and industries.

In light of the fact that white-collar workers comprise over half of all employed persons, this paper focuses on the potential of white-collar job placement agencies to perform matching functions in the labor market. Below we examine market trends, industry issues, and future prospects.1

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1According to the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, of the 53.69 employed persons in 2001, white-collar workers -- specialists, technicians, managers, clerical and sales workers -- comprised 29.60 million, or 55.1% of the total.



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