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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (December 2012)

In the three months through July 2012 the Japanese economy contracted at an annualized real rate of 3.5% from the previous quarter, according to initial estimates. Most of this decline was attributable to a fall in exports as demand ebbed in China and remained sluggish in Europe. In the July-September quarter, Japanese exports fell 5%, and household consumption and business investment also slipped.

Industrial Production
Although industrial production has been on a downward trend, in October 2012 it increased 1.8% over the previous month, registering an increase for the first time in four months but still down 4.3% year-on-year. The index in October was 88.1 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) electric parts and devices, (2) fabricated metals, and (3) transport equipment, in that order.
Commodities that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) metal oxide semiconductor ICs, (2) active matrix LCDs (liquid crystal devices) medium and small, and (3) photovoltaic modules, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to decrease by 0.1% in November and to increase by 7.5% in December. This survey is a useful economic indicator reflecting changing business conditions and providing clues as to where the economy might be heading in the near future.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in October
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household for October 2012 was 284,238 yen, down 0.5% in nominal terms and down 0.1% in real terms year-on-year.
(2) Income and Expenditures for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 482,101 yen, up 0.5% in nominal terms and up 0.9% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 315,161 yen, up 0.3% in nominal terms and up 0.7% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in October 2012 was 63.21 million, an increase of 130,000, or 0.2%, over the same month in the previous year.
(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in October 2012 was 2.71 million, a decrease of 180,000, or 6.2%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.2%, the same level as in the previous month.

(10,000 persons)
  October figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,099 -9 -0.1
Labour force 6,592 -6 -0.1
Employed persons 6,321 13 0.2
Employees 5,546 31 0.6
Unemployed persons 271 -18 -6.2
Not in labour force 4,504 5 -0.1
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.4 0.0 -
Employment rate (%) 57.0 0.3 -
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 4.1 -0.3 -
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 4.2 0.0 -

According to a separate report released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, job availability deteriorated slightly in October, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 0.80, down 0.01 points from the previous month. This figure means that there were 80 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index for Japan in October 2012 was 99.6 (2010=100), the same level as in the previous month and down 0.4% from the same month in the previous year.

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