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Increase of Nonregular Employment
Boosts Total Number of Workers by 500,000

On September 12 the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare released the 2014 edition of Analysis of the Labour Economy, the white paper on the labour economy. The report, subtitled "Toward the Full Display of Human Resource Capacity," analyzes trends and features of the labour economy in 2013, such as employment and unemployment, wages, working hours, prices and the household accounts of workers, and industrial relations.

Against the background of a labour shortage, the total number of workers in 2013 was 52 million persons, up by about 500,000 persons over the previous year. Although the job situation is improving, however, a closer look at the details shows that the number of nonregular workers was 19.06 million persons, a rise of 930,000 persons over the previous year, while the number of regular employees was 32.94 million persons, down by 460,000 persons from the previous fiscal year. In other words, the increase of nonregular employment has pushed up the total number of workers but has not led to a raising of wage levels.

The report states that because it is easier for the young generation to find work, the probability of nonregular workers aged 20-24 years switching to regular status is 20.3% higher than for people aged 60 years or over. In order to increase the number of young people becoming regular employees, the report points to the need for career enhancement training. On top of that, it recommends that "human resource management that conducts the positive employment management of diverse workers and brings out their enthusiasm for work will lead to the growth of companies and also boost the economic growth of Japan." The report also suggests that "raising work skills by the accumulation of human capital throughout continuous working careers will stabilize people's working lives and solidify the foundation of Japan's economic society."

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