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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan May 2022


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March was 2.6%, hitting the lowest rate since April 2020, and the average unemployment rate in fiscal 2021 dropped 0.1% to 2.8%.
Job availability in fiscal 2021 rose 0.06 point to 1.16, but the figure was still low compared with 1.55 in fiscal 2019 before the economy was affected by the emergence of COVID-19.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results1

(1) Employment

The number of employed persons in March 2022 was 66.84 million, a decrease of 11,000 from the same month the previous year. By gender, this included 36.81 million men, down 180,000 from the previous year, and 30.03 million women, up 70,000.

(2) Unemployment

The number of unemployed persons in March 2022 was 1.80 million, a decrease of 90,000 from the same month in the previous year, for the ninth straight monthly decline. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March was 2.6%, down 0.1% from the previous month. The unemployment rate for men was 2.7%, down 0.3% from the previous month and 2.4% for women, unchanged from the previous month.

Units: 10,000 persons
Change from
previous year

Population aged fifteen and over 11,054 -37 -0.3
Labour force 6,864 -21 -0.3
Employed persons 6,684 -11 -0.2
Employees 6,025 -14 0.2
Unemployed persons 180 -9 -4.8
Not in labour force 4,180 -19 0.5
Labour force participation rate (%) 62.1 0.2
Employment rate (%) 60.5 0.3
Unemployment rate, original series(%) 2.6 -0.1
Current month Change from
previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted(%) 2.6 -0.1

(3) Job Availability

Japan’s job availability in March stood at 1.22, up 0.01 over the previous month. This figure means there were 122 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers. It was the highest ratio since 1.31 in April 2020, when the Japanese government declared the COVID-19 state of emergency for the first time. The ratio of regular employee job offers to applicants was 0.94, up 0.01 over the previous month. The ratio of new job offers to applicants, a leading indicator for the labour market, was 2.16, down 0.05 from the previous month.

Industrial Production 2

Industrial output in March increased by 0.3% over the previous month following a revised 2.0% rise in February. Industrial output in fiscal 2021 expanded at a record 5.8% over the previous year after two straight years of setbacks due to COVID-19.
While production and shipments increased, inventories and inventory ratio decreased.

The industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) production machinery; (2) chemicals (excl. inorganic and organic chemicals, medicine); and (3) transport equipment (excl. motor vehicles), in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecasts in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 5.8% in April and decrease by 0.8% in May.

2015 average = 100
Seasonally adjusted index Original index
Index Change from previous month (%) Index Change from previous year (%)
Production 96.5 0.3 107.1 -1.7
Shipments 93.2 0.5 105.9 -2.5
Inventories 100.7 -0.6 97.5 6.6
Inventory ratio 118.4 -0.3 103.1 9.6

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 March was 307,261 yen, down 0.8% in nominal terms and down 2.3% in real terms from the previous year, marking the first decline in three months partly due to lower expenditure on food amid price increases. By component, spending on fuel and utilities expanded 12.7% from a year earlier, reflecting steep rises in energy prices.
In fiscal 2021, household spending rose a real 1.6% from a year earlier, rising for the first time in four years, but it was still lower than in fiscal 2019 before the economy was affected by the emergence of COVID-19.

(2) Income and Expenditures for Workers’ Households

Average monthly income per household stood at 503,128 yen, up 3.8% in nominal terms and up 2.3% in real terms over the previous year. The average level of consumption expenditure was 343,686 yen per month, down 0.1% in nominal terms and down 1.6% in real terms year-on-year.

Consumer Prices 4

The consumer price index (CPI) in March was 101.1 (2020 = 100), up 1.2% over the previous year and up 0.4% over the previous month, driven by higher fuel costs and a weak yen. Core inflation (CPI less food and energy) showed a marked decline from the previous year. However, due to upward pressure from commodity prices, Japan’s inflation is expected to be about the 2% target set by the Bank of Japan from April.

March 2022

Index Annual
change (%)
change (%)
(seasonally adjusted)
All items 101.1 1.2 0.4
All items, less fresh food 100.9 0.8 0.5
All items, less fresh food and energy 99.5 -0.7 0.3

  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)