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No.51(2011/5/18)
The Economic and Labour Situation in Japan
Economic Impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Current Status of Recovery
According to a report released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on April 27, the adverse impact of the disaster on the Japanese economy is limited, because the Pacific Ocean coastal region, which suffered the greatest damage, accounts for only 2.5% of the total Japanese economy. The affected area is slightly smaller in economic scale compared with the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995.

The entire Tohoku Shinkansen high-speed rail service was scheduled to have resumed operation by April 30. The reconstruction of Sendai airport, which was badly damaged by the tsunami, made surprisingly rapid progress. The first landing at Sendai airport since the earthquake was on April 13.

Industrial Production
Industrial production dropped sharply due to the Great East Japan Earthquake but was expected to recover gradually.

Industrial production in March decreased 15.3% from the previous month and showed a decrease of 12.9% from the previous year. The index in March was 82.9 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the decrease were as follows: (1) transport equipment, (2) general machinery, and (3) chemicals (excluding drugs), in that order.
Commodities that mainly contributed to the decrease were as follows: (1) large passenger cars, (2) drive, transmission, and control parts, and (3) small passenger cars.

According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase 3.9% in April and 2.7% in May.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey
(1) Expenditure for two-or-more-person households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household for March was 293,181 yen, down 8.4% in nominal terms and down 8.5% in real terms from the same month in the previous year.

(2)Income and expenditures for workers' households in March
The average monthly income per household stood at 421,975 yen, down 4.0% in nominal terms and down 4.1% in real terms from the same month in the previous year.

The average monthly consumption expenditure per household was 314,117 yen, down 10.9% in nominal terms and down 11.0% in real terms from the previous year.



Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
Since March 2011, labour force survey results for the whole of Japan have been published excluding the three prefectures that suffered the most damage in the disaster (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima). Therefore, the time series data for the whole of Japan has not been connected to past series. The total population aged 15 years or more in those three prefectures was approximately 5 million as of February 2011.

For comparison, retroactive data (from January 2009 through February 2011) are also shown in the tables below. "Change from previous year" indicates differences between data excluding the three prefectures.

(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in March 2011 was 59.23 million, a decrease of 130,000, or 0.2%, from the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in March 2011 was 3.04 million, a decrease of 260,000, or 7.9%, from the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.6%.
(10,000 persons)
  Actual figures Change from previous year
      (%)
Population aged 15 years or over 10,554 2 0.0
Labour force 6,232 -40 -0.6
Employed persons 5,928 -13 -0.2
Employees 5,206 -10 -0.2
Unemployed persons 304 -26 -7.9
Not in labour force 4,317 44 1.0
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.0 -0.4 -
Employment rate (%) 56.2 -0.1 -
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 4.9 -0.4 -
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 4.6 0.0 -
According to a separate report released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, job availability did not improve very much in March, with the ratio of job offers to job seekers standing at 0.63, up 0.01 over the previous month. This figure means that there were 63 jobs available for every 100 job seekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index for Japan in March 2011 was 99.4 (2005=100), down 0.5% from the previous month and down 0.1% from the previous year.

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