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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (February 2014)

Number of Workers in Japan Projected to Fall by 2030
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) estimates that in 2030 the number of people with jobs in Japan will be 54.49 million, 8.21 million fewer than in 2012. The estimate, which assumes zero economic growth and no change in the proportions of female and elderly workers, was announced at a meeting on January 28 of the MHLW's study group on medium- to long-term labour policy.

The study group believes that a decline in the labour supply could dampen economic growth amid Japan's low birthrate and aging population. According to the estimate, the number of job holders will drop by only 1.67 million to 61.03 million in 2030 if the government achieves the targets in its growth strategy and promotes the participation of women in the workforce. If women in their 30s could be discouraged from quitting their jobs at the time of childbirth and child raising, the female workforce in 2030 would increase by 430,000 over 2012, according to the group.

The estimate underlines the need to prevent economic growth being held back by a decrease in the labour supply by promoting the participation in the job market of women, the elderly, the disabled, young people without jobs, and foreigners and realizing a society in which all people can participate.

Industrial Production
Industrial production continues to show an upward movement. In December industrial production increased by 1.1% over the previous month, registering a rise for the first time in two months and up 7.3% year-on-year. The index in December was 100.3 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) general-purpose, production, and business- oriented machinery, (2) fabricated metals, and (3) electronic parts and devices, in that order.
Commodities that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) active matrix LCDs (liquid crystal devices) medium and small, (2) numerically controlled robots, and (3) power transformers, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 6.1% in January and 0.3% in February.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in December
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in December was 334,433yen, up 2.7% in nominal terms and up 0.7% in real terms year-on-year.
(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 905,822 yen, up 0.3% in nominal terms and down 1.7% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 358,468 yen, down 0.3% in nominal terms and down 2.3% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in December was 63.19 million, an increase of 910,000, or 1.5%, over the same month in the previous year.
(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in December was 2.25 million, a decrease of 340,000, or 13.1%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7%, registering the lowest level for six years.

(10,000 persons)
  December figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,085 -8 -0.1
Labour force 6,544 58 0.9
Employed persons 6,319 91 1.5
Employees 5,583 93 1.7
Unemployed persons 225 -34 -13.1
Not in labour force 4,539 -65 -1.4
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.0 0.5 -
Employment rate (%) 57.0 0.9 -
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.4 -0.6 -
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.7 -0.3 -

According to a separate report released by the MHLW, job availability in December improved 0.03 points over the previous month, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.3. This figure means that there were 103 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in December was 100.9 (2010 = 100), up 0.1% over the previous month and up 1.6% over the same month of the previous year.
Japan's all-item index of consumer prices in 2013 was 100.0 (2010=100), up 0.4% over the previous year.

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