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No.17(2010/3/19)
The Economic and Labour Situation in Japan

The Japanese economy picked up a little in January 2010 as unemployment eased and industrial production rose. However, the employment and income situation is still very severe because of the impact of the global economic downturn since the autumn of 2008.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results for January 2010

These survey results, released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on March 2, showed the following:

(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in January 2010 was 62.13 million, a decrease of 790,000 from the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in January 2010 was3.23 million, an increase of 460,000 over the previous year. The unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, was 4.9%, a slight improvement over the 5.1% recorded in December.

(3) Average ratio of job offers to job seekers
The average ratio of job offers to job seekers stood at 0.46, slightly better than the 0.03 of a month earlier. The figure means that there were 4.6 offers for every 10 job seekers.

Family Income and Expenditure Monthly Survey January 2010

The results of this survey, released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on March 2, showed the following:

(1) Expenditure of two-or-more-person households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per household (two or more persons) for January 2010 was 291,918 yen, up 1.7% in real terms over the previous year.

(2) Income and expenditure of workers' households
The average monthly income per household stood at 434,344 yen, down 0.5% in real terms from the previous year.
The average consumption expenditure was 321,633 yen, up 1.5% in real terms over the previous year.
This figure represents a key indicator of private consumption, which accounts for about 60% of Japan's economy.

Monthly Labour Survey, 2009 Results

The results of this survey, released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on February 2, showed the following:

(1) The total amount of monthly cash earnings per worker in 2009 (for business establishments with five or more employees) was 315,164 yen, down 3.9% from the previous year. The rate of decline was the highest since 1991.

(2) Scheduled cash earnings decreased by 2.1%, non-scheduled cash earnings decreased by 13.5%, and special cash earnings decreased by 12.1%  from the previous year.

(3) Real wages (total) decreased by 2.6% from the previous year. The rate of decline was the highest since 1998.

(4) The average total number of hours actually worked was 1,733 hours, down 2.9% from the previous year.

Indices of Industrial Production (January 2010)

These results, released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on March 12, showed the following:

(1)Industrial production
Industrial production in January rose 2.7% over the previous month, showing an increase for the tenth consecutive month. This represented a year-on-year increase of 18.5%. Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were Transport equipment, Chemicals, and Electrical machinery.
The increase of industrial production came from exports mainly for Asia.

Consumer Price Index

The average consumer price index for Japan in 2009 was 100.3 (2005=100), down 1.4% over the year. The consumer price index for Japan in January 2010, announced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on January 29, was 99.2 (2005=100), down 1.7% over the year. The key consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, has now fallen for 11 straight months.

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