Tokyo - Japan's unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points from the previous month to 3.6 per cent in February, the government said Friday.

The number of jobless dropped in February for the 45th straight month, declining by 450,000 from a year earlier to 2.32 million people, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

Wholesalers and retailers added 170,000 jobs to reach 10.58 million on payrolls, and medical and welfare services saw an increase of 230,000 employees to 7.7 million, the ministry said.

Despite the relatively lower unemployment rate, unstable forms of employment, especially among women and young people, remained one of the country's most pressing issues, analysts said.

In 2012, the proportion of temporary and part-time workers rose for the third consecutive year to a record 38 per cent, the government said.

That has not changed.

The February survey showed that the number of regular employees fell by 540,000 from a year earlier to 32.19 million while that of temporary and part-time workers rose by 890,000 to 19.89 million.

Also on Friday, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said the availability of jobs - measured as the ratio of job offers per job seeker - inched higher to 1.05 in February from the previous month. - Sapa-dpa