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No.197(2015/10/21)
Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (October 2015)

Japan's industrial production in August unexpectedly fell for a second month, raising concern that weak consumer spending and a slowdown in China, a key export market, could lead to a contraction of the Japanese economy.
After focusing on the passage of unpopular defense bills in recent months, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes to turn attention once again to the economy. He has unveiled three new goals for his economic program dubbed "Abenomics 2": the promotion of economic growth with a target of a 20% increase in gross domestic product to \600 trillion in 2020; child-rearing assistance to push up the low birthrate; and social security measures to increase nursing facilities for the elderly.

Industrial Production
In August industrial production decreased by 0.5% from the previous month, despite the government's forecast of an increase. Year-on-year, however, it marked an increase of 0.2%. The index in August was 97.0 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the decrease were as follows: (1) general-purpose production and business-oriented machinery, (2) electrical machinery, and (3) transport equipment, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 0.1% in September and by 4.4% in October.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in August
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in August was 291,156 yen, up 3.2% in nominal terms and up 2.9% in real terms year-on-year.

(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 475,369 yen, up 2.5% in nominal terms (a rise for the fifth straight month) and up 2.2% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 317,195 yen, up 3.7% in nominal terms and up 3.4% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
The employment situation is on a recovery trend.
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in August was 63.79 million, an increase of 160,000, or 0.3%, over the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in August was 2.25 million, a decrease of 60,000, or 2.6%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August was 3.4%, up 0.1 point over the previous month. The unemployment rate for men and women remained unchanged at 3.5% and 3.2%, respectively.

(10,000 persons)
  August figures Change from previous year
      (%)
Population aged 15 years or over 11,075 -4 0.0
Labour force 6,603 8 0.1
Employed persons 6,379 16 0.3
Employees 5,639 39 0.7
Unemployed persons 225 -6 -2.6
Not in labour force 4,462 -17 -0.4
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.6 0.1
Employment rate (%) 57.6 0.2
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.4 -0.1
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.4 0.1

Japan's job availability in August improved to reach the best level in over 23 years, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.23. This reflects the willingness of companies to hire more employees. The figure means that there were 123 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in August was 103.9 (2010 = 100), up 0.2 points over the previous month and up 0.2 points over the same month of the previous year.

August 2015
Index Monthly
change (%)
Annual
change (%)
All items 103.9 0.2 0.2
All items, less fresh food 103.4 0.0 -0.1
All items, less food (less alcoholic beverages) and energy 101.5 0.3 0.8
All items, less imputed rent 104.9 0.2 0.3
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