TOKYO, June 27 (Reuters) - The availability of jobs in Japan rose to the highest in more than two decades and the jobless rate fell to 3.5 percent in May, in an encouraging sign that a tighter labour market will boost wages and support consumer spending.
The jobs-to-applicants ratio rose to 1.09 in May, data from the labour ministry showed on Friday, which is the highest level since 1.10 in June 1992.
That compares with the median estimate from economists that the ratio measuring labour demand would remain unchanged from the previous month at 1.08.
The number of new job offers fell 1.5 percent in May from the previous month and was up 4.0 percent from a year ago.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on Friday, was less than the median estimate of 3.6 percent.
The reading of 3.5 percent was the lowest since December 1997.
For background on this data, please see this PREVIEW
A full table can be seen on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications at:
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