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The Economic and Labour Situation in Japan
Great East Japan Earthquake
A massive earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 occurred off the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan at 14:46 on March 11, 2011.The earthquake was followed by huge tsunami, which wreaked severe damage in coastal communities. The following is the extent of the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami as of April 6:
  • Japan's National Police Agency confirmed that 12,554 people had died and 15,077 were missing.
  • The National Police Agency reported that a total of 160,625 people were in evacuation shelters around the country.
  • Tohoku Electric Power Co. reported that a total of 162,481 households in the north of Japan were without electricity.
  • The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare reported that at least 160,000 households in 8 prefectures were without running water.
  • The National Police Agency reported that 46,017 buildings had been completely destroyed.
  • The government said last week that it estimated damage from the earthquake and tsunami to reach 16 trillion - 25 trillion yen ($198 billion - $309 billion); the top estimate would make it the world's costliest natural disaster. The estimate covers damage to roads, homes, factories, and other infrastructure but excludes lost economic activity due to power outages and costs arising from damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, as well as the impact of swings in financial markets and business sentiment.
Industrial Production
Industrial production continues to show upward movement. However, it will be necessary to keep watch on the impact of the Tohoku-Pacific earthquake on production.
Industrial production in February 2011 increased 0.4% over the previous month, showing an increase for the fourth consecutive month; it was up 2.8% year on year. The index for February was 96.4 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) transport equipment, (2) general machinery, and (3) chemicals (excluding drugs), in that order.
Commodities that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) metal oxide semiconductor ICs (memories), (2) large passenger cars, and (3) small passenger cars.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase 1.4% in March and decrease 1.3% in April.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey
(1) Expenditure for two-or-more-person households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in February was 260,793 yen, down 0.1% in nominal terms and down 0.2% in real terms from the same month in the previous year.
(2)Income and expenditures for workers' households in February
 The average monthly income per household stood at 470,071 yen, up 1.1% in nominal terms and up 1.0% in real terms over the previous year.
The average monthly consumption expenditure per household was 283,611 yen, down 0.6% in nominal terms and down 0.7% in real terms from the previous year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results

(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in February 2011 was 62.23 million, an increase of 380,000, or 0.6%, over the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in February 2011 was 3 million, a decrease of 240,000, or 7.4%, from the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.6%.

(10,000 persons)
  Actual figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years and over 11,047 3 0.0
Labour force 6,522 13 0.2
Employed persons 6,223 38 0.6
Employees 5,497 69 1.3
Unemployed persons 300 -24 -7.4
Not in labour force 4,520 -7 -0.2
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.0 0.1  
Employment rate (%) 56.3 0.3  
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 4.6 -0.4  
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 4.6 -0.3  

According to a separate report released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, job availability did not improve very much in February, with the ratio of job offers to job seekers standing at 0.62, up 0.01 over the previous month. This figure means that there were 62 jobs available for every 100 job seekers.

Consumer Prices

The consumer price index for Japan in February 2011 was 99.3 (2005=100), down 0.1% from the previous month and the same level as the previous year.
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