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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (September 2014)

The Japanese economy remained weak in August as industrial production stagnated, highlighting a pileup of goods due to weak demand. The inventory index rose 1% month-on-month-the fourth consecutive monthly increase, with the figure reaching the highest level since February 2009.

Industrial Production
Industrial production in August decreased by 1.5% from the previous month, marking the first decrease in two months and down 2.9% year-on-year. The index in August was 95.5 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the decrease were as follows: (1) general-purpose, production, and business-oriented machinery, (2) transport equipment, and (3) electric machinery, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 6.0% in September and to decease by 0.2% in October.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in June
The three-point consumption tax hike in April has continued to put a drag on household spending.
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in August was 282,124 yen, down 0.9% in nominal terms and down 4.7% in real terms year-on-year.
(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 463,810 yen, down 1.6% in nominal terms and down 5.4% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 305,836 yen, down 2.2% in nominal terms and down 6.0% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in August was 63.63 million, an increase of 530,000, or 0.8%, over the same month in the previous year.
(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in August was 2.31 million, a decrease of 400,000, or 14.8%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 3.5% in August, down 0.3 point from the previous month.

(10,000 persons)
  August figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,079 –7 –0.1
Labour force 6,595 14 0.2
Employed persons 6,363 53 0.8
Employees 5,600 38 0.7
Unemployed persons 231 –40 –14.8
Not in labour force 4,479 –20 –0.4
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.5 0.1
Employment rate (%) 57.4 0.5
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.5 –0.6
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.5 -0.3

Japan's job availability in August remained at its highest level in over 22 years. Job availability was the same as the previous month, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.10. This figure means that there were 110 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in August was 103.6 (2010 = 100), up 0.2% over the previous month and up 2.9% over the same month of the previous year.

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