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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan October 2022


FY 2022 Prefectural Minimum Wages Rise to National Average of 961 Yen

Prefectural minimum hourly wages for fiscal 2022 have risen to a national average of 961 yen per hour, up 31 yen over the previous fiscal year. Regional Minimum Wage Councils (tripartite bodies comprising public interest, labour, and management representatives) had been discussing prefectural levels following an announcement of guidelines earlier in the year by the government’s Central Minimum Wage Council. All of Japan’s 47 prefectures have now determined their fiscal 2022 minimum wages, which went into force from October 1.

None of the 47 failed to implement the recommended margin of 30 yen to 31 yen amid soaring prices for daily necessities and many other items. Minimum hourly wage rises exceeded central government proposals in 22 prefectures.
At present, Tokyo has the highest minimum hourly wage at 1072 yen, up 31 yen. Two prefectures, Okinawa and Kochi, have the lowest at 853 yen, up 33 yen, which is more than 221 yen lower than Tokyo’s.

In council meetings, RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) argued that since prefectural levels remain low and inter-regional differences are widening, the minimum wage should be increased soon to above 1,000 yen in all prefectures.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results1

(1) Employment

The number of employed persons in August 2022 was 67.51 million, an increase of 120,000 over the same month the previous year. By gender, this included 37.18 million men, up 40,000 from the previous year, and 30.33 million women, up 80,000.

(2) Unemployment

The number of unemployed persons in August 2022 was 1.77 million, a decrease of 170,000 from the same month in the previous year, for the twelve straight monthly decline. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August was 2.5%, down 0.1% from the previous month. The unemployment rate for men was 2.7%, down 0.1% over the previous month and 2.3% for women, unchanged from the previous month.

Units: 10,000 persons
Change from
previous year

Population aged fifteen and over 11,022 -62 -0.6
Labour force 6,929 -5 -0.1
Employed persons 6,751 12 0.2
Employees 6,044 30 0.5
Unemployed persons 177 -17 -8.8
Not in labour force 4,086 -57 -1.4
Labour force participation rate (%) 62.9 0.5
Employment rate (%) 61.3 0.5
Unemployment rate, original series(%) 2.6 -0.2
Current month Change from
previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted(%) 2.5 -0.1

(3) Job Availability

Japan’s job availability in August stood at 1.32, up 0.03 over the previous month, showing an improvement for the eighth straight month, aided by a recovery in the services sector as the economic hit from the COVID-19 pandemic receded. The number of job offers climbed 0.6% from the previous month, notably increasing in the accommodation and food service sectors. The number of job seekers declined 1.2%.The ratio of regular employee job offers to applicants was 1.02, up 0.01 over the previous month. The ratio of new job offers to applicants, a leading indicator for the labour market, was 2.32, down 0.08 from the previous month.

Industrial Production 2

Japan’s industrial output in August increased 2.7% from the previous month, for the third consecutive month of increase, as production recovered to pre-pandemic levels amid an easing of materials shortages. By sector, the production machinery industry saw the biggest increase of 6.1 percent from the previous month, led by semiconductor manufacturing devices and flat panel display producing equipment.
While production, shipments and inventories all increased, inventory ratio decreased.
The industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) production machinery; (2) iron, steel and non-ferrous metals; and (3) chemicals (excl. inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals, and medicine), in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecasts in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 2.9% in September and by 3.2% in October.

2015 average = 100
Seasonally adjusted index Original index
Index Change from previous month (%) Index Change from previous year (%)
Production 99.5 2.7 90.9 5.1
Shipments 96.6 1.9 89.0 4.8
Inventories 101.6 1.4 102.8 6.6
Inventory ratio 120.2 -1.8 126.9 4.9

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 August was 289,974 yen, up 8.8% in nominal terms and up 5.1% in real terms from the previous year, for the third straight month, helped by the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions that prompted a rise in recreational and dining expenditure. By component, spending on culture and recreation rose 20.6% in real terms from a year earlier and health and medicine rose 15.1%, as Japan saw a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 this summer.

(2) Income and Expenditures for Workers’ Households

Average monthly income per household stood at 563,963 yen, up 1.6% in nominal terms but down 1.8% in real terms from the previous year. The average level of consumption expenditure was 322,438 yen per month, up 9.6% in nominal terms and up 5.9% in real terms year-on-year.

Consumer Prices 4

The consumer price index (CPI) in August was 102.7 (2020 = 100), up 3.0% over the previous year and up 0.3% over the previous month, driven by higher commodity prices and a weak yen. Core inflation (CPI less food and energy) was up 1.6% over the previous year, marking the fifth straight month of increase. Energy prices surged 16.9%, with gasoline, kerosene, city gas, and electricity bills all marking double-digit gains. Food prices, excluding fresh food items, rose 4.1%, the largest increase since March 2015.
The BOJ has taken the view that the recent bout of inflation should only be temporary because it is mainly due to higher energy and raw materials costs, contrary to the global trend of monetary tightening.

August 2022

Index Annual
change (%)
change (%)
(seasonally adjusted)
All items 102.7 3.0 0.3
All items, less fresh food 102.5 2.8 0.4
All items, less fresh food and energy 100.6 1.6 0.2

  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)