Activity reports E-mail magazine

Economic and Labour Situation in Japan, April 2023


2023 Spring Struggle for a Better Life

On April 5, RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) carried out its third tally of wage hike settlements reached in the 2023 Spring Struggle for a Better Life. RENGO’s survey revealed that 2,484 unions that had demanded average wage hikes for members and engaged in labour–management negotiations had reached settlements by that time.

The average wage hike in these settlements (including the regular wage hike) was 11,114 yen, the equivalent of 3.70% of the average wage before the hike; this level was 4,795 yen, and 1.59 percentage points, more than at the same stage last year. Of unions with more than 1000 members, the average wage hike was 11,559 yen, up 3.74%; this level was 5,033 yen, and 1.61 percentage points, more than at the same stage last year. Of unions with fewer than 300 members, the average wage hike was 8,554 yen, up 3.42%; this level was 3,429 yen, and 1.36 percentage points, more than at the same stage last year. Of unions with fewer than 100 members, the average wage hike was 7,012 yen, up 3.01%; this level was 2,412 yen, and 1.03 percentage points, more than at the same stage last year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results1

The employment situation is gradually picking up.

(1) Employment

The number of employed persons in February 2023 was 66.67 million, an increase of 90,000 over the same month the previous year. By gender, this included 36.68 million men, down 90,000, and 29.99 million women, up 180,000 from the previous year, respectively.

(2) Unemployment

The number of unemployed persons in February 2023 was 1.74 million, a decrease of 60,000 from the same month in the previous year, for the twentieth straight monthly decline.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February was 2.6%, up 0.2 over the previous month. The unemployment rate for men was 2.9%, up 0.3, and 2.3% for women, up 0.1 over the previous month, respectively, worsening for the first time in five months, as more people sought better working conditions amid an economic recovery from the COVID pandemic.

Units: 10,000 persons

Change from
previous year(%)
Population aged fifteen and over 11,012 -48 -0.4
Labour force 6,840 2 0.0
Employed persons 6,667 9 0.1
Employees 6,012 7 0.1
Unemployed persons 174 -6 -3.3
Not in labour force 4,163 -52 -1.2
Labour force participation rate (%) 62.1 0.3
Employment rate (%) 60.5 0.3
Unemployment rate, original series(%) 2.5 -0.1
Current month Change from
previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted(%) 2.6 0.2

(3) Job Availability

Japan’s job availability in February stood at 1.34, down 0.01 from the previous month, worsening for the second straight month. This ratio means there were 134 job openings for every 100 job seekers. The ratio of regular employee job offers to applicants was 1.02, down 0.01 from the previous month.
The ratio of new job offers to applicants, a leading indicator for the labour market, was 2.32, down 0.06 from the previous month. Among the industries, accommodation and restaurant services saw the sharpest rise in job offers at 37.2% from a year earlier on the back of recovering tourism demand, followed by a 23.7% jump in offers in the education sector.

Industrial Production 2

Industrial output in February rose 4.5% over the previous month for the first increase in two months after vehicle production increased on the back of easing semiconductor shortages. While production, shipments, and inventories increased, inventory ratio decreased.
The industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) motor vehicles; (2) production machinery; and (3) electronic parts and devices, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecasts in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase 2.3% in March and 4.4% in April.

February 2022

2015 average = 100

Seasonally adjusted index Original index
Index Change from previous month (%) Index Change from previous year (%)
Production 94.8 4.5 91.9 -0.6
Shipments 92.4 3.6 90.1 0.6
Inventories 103.6 1.4 104.3 2.3
Inventory ratio 126.3 -1.6 131.0 5.4

Family Income and Expenditure Survey 3

(1) Expenditure of Households of Two Persons or More

Average monthly consumption expenditure of households of two or more persons in February was 272,214 yen, up 5.6% in nominal terms and up 1.6% in real terms over the previous year, the first increase in four months, as people spent more on travel amid a recovery from the COVID pandemic. By component in real terms, spending on culture & recreation rose 10.6% and fuel, light, and water utility charges rose 13.2%. Food expenditure fell 0.4%, affected by rising prices.

(2) Income and Expenditures for Workers’ Households

Average monthly income per household stood at 557,655 yen, up 3.1% in nominal terms but down 0.8% in real terms from the previous year. The average level of consumption expenditure was 298,749 yen per month, up 4.7% in nominal terms and up 0.8% in real terms year-on-year.

Consumer Prices 4

The consumer price index (CPI) in February was 104.0 (2020 = 100), up 3.3% over the previous year and down 0.6% from the previous month. Core inflation (CPI less food and energy) was up 3.5% over the previous year, marking the eleventh straight month of increase. Energy prices dipped 0.7%, the first fall in nearly two years, as electricity bills fell 5.5% due to the government’s subsidize utility bills for consumers. Food prices (excluding volatile fresh items) rose 7.8%, the fastest pace in nearly 47 years. Egg prices surged 19.9% amid bird flu-related supply concerns.

February 2022

Index Annual
change (%)
change (%)
(seasonally adjusted)
All items 104.0 3.3 -0.6
All items, less fresh food 103.6 3.1 -0.6
All items, less fresh food and energy 102.6 3.5 0.4
  1. Source: Labour Force Survey Monthly Results (Statistics Bureau of Japan)
  2. Source: Indices of Industrial Production (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)
  3. Source: Summary of the Latest Month on Family Income and Expenditure Survey (Statistics Bureau of Japan)
  4. Source: Consumer Price Index (Statistics Bureau of Japan)