Activity reports E-mail magazine

Economic and Labour Situation in Japan, February 2024


Labour Force Survey 2023 Yearly Average Results

The average number of employed persons in 2023 was 67.47 million, an increase of 240,000 over the previous year, and improving for the third straight year. While the number of regular employees increased 180,000, the number of non-regular employees increased 230,000 over the previous year. The employment rate was 61.2%, up 0.1 points. By gender, the employment rate for men has risen to 69.5%, a 0.1-point increase, while for women, it has increased to 53.6%, a 0.6-point rise.

Looking at the employed population by industry, the accommodation and food services industry has seen an increase of 170,000 people, reaching a total of 3.98 million. The manufacturing industry has experienced a rise of 110,000 people, reaching a total of 10.55 million, while the information and communications industry has increased by 60,000 people for a total of 2.78 million.

On the other hand, the agriculture and forestry industry has seen a decrease of 50,000 people for a total of 1.87 million. The finance and insurance industry has decreased by 50,000 people for a total of 1.55 million. The education and learning support industry has decreased by 50,000 people for a total of 3.44 million. Additionally, other services (not classified elsewhere) have decreased by 50,000 people for a total of 4.58 million.

The average number of unemployed persons was 1.78 million, down 10,000 from the previous year. The average unemployment rate was 2.6%, unchanged from the previous year.

In 2022, the job availability ratio was 1.31, up 0.03 points over the previous year and improving for the second straight year, reflecting a recovery in economic activity following the COVID-19 pandemic according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. This means there were 131 job openings for every 100 job seekers.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results(*1)

The labour market in general has been on a tightening trend amid labour shortages, as the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in December 2023 was 67.54 million, an increase of 380,000 over the same month the previous year. By gender, this included 36.85 million men, down 60,000, and 30.65 million women, up 440,000 from the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in December 2023 was 1.56 million, a decrease of 20,000 from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December was 2.4%, down 0.1 from the same month the previous year. The unemployment rate was 2.8% for men, up 0.1, and 2.0% for women, down 0.4 from the same month the previous year.

Units: 10,000 persons



Change From

Previous Year

Population Aged Fifteen and Over 11,000 -32 -0.3  
Labour Force 6,910 35 0.5  
Employed Persons 6,754 38 0.6  
Employees 6,114 59 1.0  
Unemployed Persons 156 -2 -1.3  
Not in Labour Force 4,081 -69 -1.7  
Labour Force Participation Rate (%) 62.8 0.5  
Employment Rate (%) 61.4 0.5  
Unemployment Rate, Original Series (%) 2.3 0.0  
  Current Month Change From

Previous Month

Unemployment Rate, Seasonally Adjusted (%) 2.4 -0.1  

(3) Job Availability

Japan’s job availability in December stood at 1.27, down 0.01 from the previous month. This ratio means there were 127 job openings for every 100 job seekers.

The ratio of regular employee job offers to applicants was 1.00, down 0.01 from the previous month.

The ratio of new job offers to applicants, a leading indicator for the labour market, was 2.26, unchanged from the previous month. The number of new job offers decreased 3.3% from the same month the previous year. By industry, the education and learning support sector rose at 2.4%. The manufacturing sector fell 10.5%.


Industrial Production²

Industrial Production Fluctuates Indecisively

Industrial output in December increased 1.8% over the previous month. Production and shipments increased, while inventory ratio and inventories decreased. The industries that mainly contributed to this increase were as follows: (1) general-purpose and business-oriented machinery; (2) chemicals (excluding inorganic and organic chemicals, and medicine); and (3) production machinery, in that order.

According to the Survey of Production Forecasts in Manufacturing, production was expected to decrease 6.2% in January and increase 2.2% in February.

December 2023                                             2015 average = 100



Seasonally Adjusted


Change From Previous

Month (%)

Original Index






Production 105.9 1.8 106.9 -0.7
Shipments 105.2 2.5 108.0 0.7
Inventories 102.9 -1.2 101.0 -0.2
Inventory Ratio 102.1 -2.9 99.0 2.4

In 2023, industrial output fell 1.1% from the previous year for the second

straight annual decline, and industrial shipments declined 0.5% from the previous year, while inventories fell 0.2%.


Family Income and Expenditure Survey³

(1) Expenditure of Households of Two Persons or More

Average monthly consumption expenditure of households of two or more persons in December was 329,518 yen, up 0.4% in nominal terms and down 2.5% in real terms from the previous year, declining for the tenth consecutive month.

(2) Income and Expenditures for Workers’ Households

Average monthly income per household stood at 1,099,805 yen (including bonus payments), down 4.4% in nominal terms and down 7.2% in real terms from the previous year, due to higher inflation rates. The average level of consumption expenditure was 348,859 yen per month, down 1.4% in nominal terms and down 4.3% in real terms year-on-year.


Consumer Prices⁴

The consumer price index (CPI) in December was 106.8 (2020 = 100), up 2.6% over the previous year and up 0.1% over the previous month. Core inflation (CPI less food and energy) was up 3.7% over the previous year and up 0.2% over the previous month, marking the 21st straight month of increase, but slowing slightly from a 3.8 percent rise in November. Energy prices dipped 11.6%, as electricity bills fell 20.5% due to the government’s subsidization of utility bills for consumers. Food prices (excluding volatile fresh items) rose 6.2%. Egg prices surged 21.9% amid bird flu-related supply concerns and accommodation fees jumped up 59.0%, as travel demand continued to recover with the return of foreign tourists to Japan.


December 2023

  Index Annual
Change (%)
Change (%)
(Seasonally Adjusted)
All Items 106.8 2.6 0.1
All Items, Less Fresh Food 106.4 2.3 0.2
All Items, Less Fresh Food and Energy 105.9 3.7 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)