Photo/Illutration This service counter in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward handles consultations for dismissals and terminations of temporary contracts and notifications from those who lost their jobs. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

The pace of job losses has slightly slowed down, but more than 30,000 workers are still estimated to have lost employment as of July 1 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, labor ministry data showed.

The figures released on July 2 indicated that the outbreak continues to wreak havoc on the country’s labor market even after the government lifted the state of emergency for all prefectures in late May.

The ministry in February started collecting data on the number of workers who have been or were expected to be dismissed as well as those whose contracts have been or were expected to be terminated.

The overall figure was slightly below 4,000 as of the end of April, but it then started surging, topping 10,000 on May 21 and 20,000 on June 4.

After that, it took about four weeks for the number to break the 30,000 level, reaching 31,710 on July 1.

However, the real figure is likely much higher because the ministry’s data represents only what its local labor bureaus around the country have confirmed so far.

The ministry broke down data concerning 28,173 workers who were expected to lose or had already lost their jobs as of June 26.

By industry, the lodging sector was the hardest hit, with 5,613 job losses, followed by 4,194 in the restaurant industry and 4,133 in the manufacturing sector.

By region, Tokyo had the most job losses, with 4,571, followed by 3,248 in Osaka Prefecture and 1,348 in Hokkaido.

Nonregular workers accounted for about 65 percent of the number added over the week until June 26.

In May, 143,696 people started receiving unemployment benefits, up 13 percent from the same month a year before.