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No.23(2010/5/18)
The Economic and Labour Situation in Japan

Japan's seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose for the first time in five months in March 2010, while prices dropped for the thirteenth consecutive month. The nation's core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes prices of fresh food, declined 1.2% from a year earlier. Prices fell nearly across the board, from fuel to furniture.

Deflation can hamper economic growth by depressing company profits, sparking wage cuts and causing consumers to postpone purchases. It also can increase debt burdens. The core CPI for the Tokyo area, seen as a barometer of future price trends nationwide, retreated 1.9% in April.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results for March 2010

These survey results, released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on March 30, showed the following:

(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in March 2010 was 62.1 million, a year-on-year decrease of 350,000.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in March 2010 was 3.5 million, a year-on-year increase of 150,000. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.0%.

(10,000 persons)
  Actual
figures
Change from
previous year
      (%)
Population aged 15 years or over 11,046 0 0.0
Labour force 6,560 -20 -0.3
Employed persons 6,210 -35 -0.6
Employees 5,443 18 0.3
Unemployed persons 350 15 4.5
Not in labour force 4,478 15 0.3
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.4 -0.2 -
Employment rate (%) 56.2 -0.3 -
Unemployment rate (%) 5.3 0.2 -
 
  Current
month
Change from
previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally
adjusted (%)
5.0 0.1  

(3) Average ratio of job offers to job seekers
The average ratio of job offers to job seekers in March 2010 stood at 0.49, slightly better than the 0.02 of a month earlier. The figure means that there were 49 job offers for every 100 job seekers.

Family Income and Expenditure Monthly Survey March 2010

The results of this survey, released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on March 30, showed the following:

(1) Expenditure of two-or-more-person households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per household (two or more persons) for March 2010 was 319,991 yen, up 4.4% in real terms over the previous year.

(2) Income and expenditure of workers' households
The average monthly income per household stood at 439,410 yen, up 0.4% in real terms over the previous year. Average consumption expenditure was 352,552 yen, up 3.6% 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.

Industrial Production in March

Industrial production in March increased 0.3% over the previous month, showing a rise for the first time in two months. Industrial production was up 30.7% over the previous year. The seasonally adjusted index in March was 94.0.

Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were electrical machinery, transport equipment, and iron and steel, in that order.

Commodities that mainly contributed to the increase were large passenger cars, metal oxide semiconductor ICs (memories), and internal combustion engines for industry, in that order.

According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase 3.7% in April and decrease 0.3% in May.

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