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No.78(2012/2/3)
The Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (February 2012)
Japanese Economy Continues to Suffer Deflation in 2011
The Japanese economy continued to suffer deflation last year, government data showed, with key consumer prices falling 0.3% as rising energy costs were offset by falls in prices for some durable goods. Japan's all-item index of consumer prices in 2011 was 99.7 (2010=100), down 0.3% from the previous year.

Pension benefits will be affected. In accordance with the price declines in 2011, pension payments will be reduced by 0.3% for fiscal 2012, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced.

Under the public pension system, a self-employed person can currently receive a full payment of 65,741 yen per month if he or she has paid premiums for 40 years. After the envisaged cut, however, full pension payments will be reduced by 200 yen to 65,541 yen, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile, full-time employees covered by the corporate pension scheme and their stay-at-home spouses--the standard pension subscriber model--will have their payments cut by 708 yen to 230,940 yen from the current 231,648 yen, which includes the basic pension benefit. The proposal will be officially decided on after related government ordinances are revised.

Industrial Production
Industrial production in December 2011 increased 4.0% over the previous month, registering an increase for the first time in two months and down 4.1% from the previous year. The index in November was 93.6 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) transport equipment, (2) information and communication electronics equipment, and (3) electronic parts, in that order.
Commodities that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) large passenger cars, (2) cell phones, and (3) semiconductor product machinery, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 2.5% in January 2012 and by 1.2% in February.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in December
(1) Expenditures for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure of two-or-more-person households in December 2011 was 327,949 yen, up 0.3% in nominal terms and up 0.5% in real terms over the previous year.
(2) Income and Expenditures for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 893,427 yen, down 0.2% in nominal terms and down 0.9% in real terms from the previous year.
The average monthly consumption expenditure per household was 351,861 yen, up 0.7% in nominal terms and up 0.9% in real terms over the previous year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results (February 2012)
From September 2011, the results for the whole of Japan, including Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures, have become available. However, there are still some districts in coastal areas where the survey is not being conducted due to severe damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. Figures from March through August 2011 for the whole of Japan are missing; data excluding these three prefectures are included for this period.

(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in December 2011 was 62.22 million, a decrease of 100,000, or 0.2%, from the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in December 2011 was 2.75 million, a decrease of 240,000, or 8.0%, from the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.6%.

(3) Population Aged 15 Years or More and Labour Force Statistics
  Population
aged 15 years
or more
Labour force Labour force
participa-
tion rate( %)
Employment
rate(%)
Unemploy
ment
rate (%)
Total Employed
persons
Unemployed
persons
2001 10,886 6,752 6,412 340 62.0 58.9 5.0
2002 10,927 6,689 6,330 359 61.2 57.9 5.4
2003 10,962 6,666 6,316 350 60.8 57.6 5.3
2004 10,990 6,642 6,329 313 60.4 57.6 4.7
2005 11,007 6,650 6,356 294 60.4 57.7 4.4
2006 11,020 6,657 6,382 275 60.4 57.9 4.1
2007 11,043 6,669 6,412 257 60.4 58.1 3.9
2008 11,050 6,650 6,385 265 60.2 57.8 4.0
2009 11,050 6,617 6,282 336 59.9 56.9 5.1
2010 11,049 6,590 6,257 334 59.6 56.6 5.1

2011
[10,552] [6,261] [5,977] [284] [59.3] [56.6] [4.5]
[ ] = Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures, which were most severely hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, are not included in the figures.

According to a separate report released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, job availability improved in December, with the ratio of job offers to job seekers standing at 0.71, up 0.02 points over the previous month. This figure means that there were 71 jobs available for every 100 job seekers.
Average job availability in 2011 was 0.65, up 0.13 points over the previous year.
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