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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (May 2014)

Industrial Production
Industrial production continues to show upward movement, increasing in March by 0.3% over the previous month; this was the first increase in two months and up 7.0% year-on-year. The index in March was 101.8 (seasonally adjusted).

Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) transport equipment, (2) electronic parts and devices, and (3) ceramics, stone and clay products, in that order. Commodities that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) large passenger cars, (2) turbine generators for general use, and (3) solar battery cells, in that order.

According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to decrease by 1.4% in April and increase by 0.1% in May.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in March
Family expenditure increased ahead of the consumption tax hike from 5% to 8% implemented in April.

(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in March was 354,443 yen, up 9.3% in nominal terms and up 7.2% in real terms year-on-year.
(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 438,145 yen, down 1.4% in nominal terms and down 3.3% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 384,680 yen, up 9.6% in nominal terms and up 7.5% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in March was 62.98 million, an increase of 520,000, or 0.8%, over the same month in the previous year.
(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in March was 2.46 million, a decrease of 340,000, or 12.1%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.6%, maintaining the lowest level for six years for the fourth consecutive month. The figure is the lowest since July 2007, before the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008 sparked a global financial crisis.

(10,000 persons)
  March figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,081 –5 0.0
Labour force 6,544 18 0.3
Employed persons 6,298 52 0.8
Employees 5,541 56 1.0
Unemployed persons 246 –34 –12.1
Not in labour force 4,529 –25 -0.5
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.1 0.2 -
Employment rate (%) 56.8 0.5 -
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.8 –0.5 -
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.6 0.0 -

According to a separate report released by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, job availability in March improved 0.02 points over the previous month, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.07. This figure means that there were 107 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in March was 101.0 (2010 = 100), up 0.3% over the previous month and up 1.6% over the same month of the previous year.

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