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No.176(2015/1/20)
Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (January 2015)

According to the results of the 2014 Basic Survey of Trade Unions announced by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, as of June 30, 2014, there were 25,279 company-based trade unions in Japan with a total of 9,849,000 members. Compared to the previous year, the number of company-based unions had decreased by 253 (-1.0%), and their membership had dropped by 26,000 people (-0.3%). These were the lowest levels recorded since the survey began in 1990. The estimated unionization ratio (that is, the ratio of union members to the total number of employed persons) was 17.5%, down 0.2% from the previous year.

Industrial Production
Industrial production is fluctuating indecisively.
In November industrial production decreased by 0.6% from the previous month, registering a decline for the first time in three months and down 3.8% year-on-year. The index in November was 97.8 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the decrease were as follows: (1) general-purpose, production, and business-oriented machinery (2) electric machinery, and (3) fabricated metal, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 3.2% in December and by 5.7% in January.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in October
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in November was 280,271 yen, up 0.3% in nominal terms but down 2.5% in real terms year-on-year.
(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 431,543 yen, down 1.1% in nominal terms and down 3.9% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 306,230 yen, up 1.7% in nominal terms but down 1.2% in real terms year-on-year.
The three-point consumption tax hike last April has continued to put a drag on household spending.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in November was 63.71 million, the same as the previous year.
(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in November was 2.19 million, a decrease of 300,000, or 12.0%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 3.5%, the same as the previous month.

(10,000 persons)
  November figures Change from previous year
      (%)
Population aged 15 years or over 11,085 –4 –0.0
Labour force 6,590 –30 –0.5
Employed persons 6,371 0 0.0
Employees 5,637 18 0.3
Unemployed persons 219 -30 –12.0
Not in labour force 4,489 23 0.5
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.4 0.0
Employment rate (%) 57.5 0.0
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.5 0.0
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.5 -0.1

Japan's job availability improved 0.01 points over the previous month in November to reach its best level in over 22 and a half years, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.12. This figure means that there were 112 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in November was 103.4 (2010 = 100), down 0.2% from the previous month and up 2.7% over the same month of the previous year.

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