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No.201(2015/12/11)
Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (December 2015)

According to a preliminary report by the Cabinet Office, Japan's real gross domestic product (GDP) in the July-September quarter declined for the second consecutive quarter, falling 0.2% from the previous three months for an annualized drop of 0.8%.
Following the sluggish GDP report, on November 26 the government issued a supplementary budget of just over \3 trillion to fund measures to prepare farmers for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and help struggling low-income pensioners. In addition, the budget beefed up the existing program to assist rent payments by child-rearing families living near their parents.
The government has pressured companies to spend their record profits on wages and capital expenditure, but it has had little success so far despite a tightening job market.

Industrial Production
Industrial production is fluctuating indecisively. In October industrial production rose by 1.4% over the previous month, registering an increase for the second consecutive month, but it was down 1.4% year-on-year. The index in October was 98.8 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) general-purpose, production, and business-oriented machinery (2) transport equipment, and (3) electronic parts and devices, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 0.2% in November and decrease by 0.9% in December.

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 October was 282,401 yen, down 2.1% in nominal terms and down 2.4% in real terms year-on-year.

(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 485,330 yen, down 0.6% in nominal terms and down 0.9% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 309,761 yen, down 2.6% in nominal terms and down 2.3% in real terms year-on-year, reflecting the weak growth of wages.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
The employment situation is on a recovery trend.
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in October was 64.32 million, an increase of 420,000, or 0.7%, over the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in October was 2.08 million, a decrease of 250,000, or 10.7%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October was 3.1%. This figure was the lowest since July 1995 and marked a 0.3 percentage point drop from 3.4% in September. The unemployment rates for men and women were 3.4% and 2.7%, respectively.

(10,000 persons)
  October figures Change from previous year
      (%)
Population aged 15 years or over 11,082 -3 0.0
Labour force 6,640 14 0.3
Employed persons 6,432 42 0.7
Employees 5,704 75 1.3
Unemployed persons 208 -25 -10.7
Not in labour force 4,437 -17 -0.4
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.9 0.2
Employment rate (%) 58.0 0.4
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.1 -0.4
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.1 -0.3

Japan's job availability in October remained unchanged and the best level in 23 years and 9 months, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.24. This figure means that there were 124 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in October was 103.9 (2010 = 100), down 0.1 point from the previous month but up 0.3% over the same month of the previous year.

October 2015
Index Monthly
change (%)
Annual
change (%)
All items 103.9 -0.1 0.3
All items, less fresh food 103.5 0.1 -0.1
All items, less food (less alcoholic beverages) and energy 101.7 0.1 0.7
All items, less imputed rent 104.9 -0.1 0.3
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