There were only 43 job offers for every 100 job seekers, a record low and down from 44 the previous month.

Hopes are mounting that the economy has come through the worst of its downturn, but unemployment tends to lag behind economic growth in recovering from a recession.

Despite the worsening jobs market, Japanese household spending increased 0.2 per cent in June from a year earlier, adjusted for price changes.

Japan plunged into recession more than a year ago and the economy shrank at an annualised pace of 14.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, the worst performance on record although recent data has indicated that exports and industrial production have begun to rebound.

Nonetheless analysts have warned that any recovery could fizzle out next year once the positive effects of government stimulus spending measures fade, with rising unemployment and a shrinking population likely to weigh on consumer spending.