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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (November 2013)

RENGO Plans to Demand Basic Wage Hike Next Spring
At a central executive committee meeting on October 24, RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) adopted a basic policy of demanding a basic wage hike of 1%-2% in next year's spring wage negotiations. RENGO has refrained from seeking a basic wage raise for the past four consecutive years in view of the deflationary economic slump in Japan following the Lehman Brothers shock in 2008. Under the economic policy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, however, prices are expected to rise from now on.

Prime Minister Abe's government has asked Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), Japan's largest business association, and other employers' organizations to raise wages. Owing to this request, an increasing number of companies are showing a positive attitude toward wage increases.

Industrial Production
Industrial production continues to show an upward movement. Industrial production in September increased by 1.5% over the previous month and registered a rise for the first time in two months. It was up 5.4% year-on-year. The index in September was 98.5 (seasonally adjusted).

Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) transport equipment, (2) electronic parts and devices, and (3) information and communication electronics equipment, in that order.

Commodities that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) large passenger cars, (2) active matrix LCDs (liquid crystal devices) medium and small, and (3) small passenger cars, in that order.

According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 4.7% in October and to decrease by 1.2% in November.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in September
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in September was \280,692, up 5.2% in nominal terms and up 3.7% in real terms year-on-year.

(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at \431,931, up 2.3% in nominal terms and up 0.9% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was \315,443, up 5.2% in nominal terms and up 3.7% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in September was 63.59 million, an increase of 510,000, or 0.8%, over the same month in the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in September was 2.56 million, a decrease of 170,000, or 6.2%, from the same month in the previous year. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.0%, down 0.1 points from the previous month.

(10,000 persons)
  September figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,091 -6 -0.1
Labour force 6,617 34 0.5
Employed persons 6,359 51 0.8
Employees 5,575 53 1
Unemployed persons 258 -17 -6.2
Not in labour force 4,470 -42 -0.9
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.7 0.4 -
Employment rate (%) 57.3 0.5 -
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.9 -0.3 -
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 4 -0.1 -

According to a separate report released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, job availability in September 2013 was the same level as the previous month, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 0.95. This figure means that there were 95 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in September was 100 (2010 = 100), up 0.3% over the previous month and up 1.1% over the same month of the previous year.

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