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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (November 2014)

According to the latest data, household income and consumer spending are falling, unemployment is rising, and inflation is slowing further in Japan. In addition, the drop in oil prices is putting a downward pressure on prices. The Bank of Japan announced an unprecedentedly large monetary stimulus program aimed at achieving the BOJ’s 2% inflation target in about two years. The surprise move sent Tokyo stocks soaring and the yen tumbling.

Industrial Production
Industrial production in September increased by 2.7% over the previous month, which was the first increase in two months and up 0.6% year-on-year. The index in September was 97.8 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) transport equipment, (2) electronic parts and devices, and (3) electric machinery, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to decrease by 0.1% in October and increase by 1.0% in November.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in September
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 September was 275,226 yen, down 1.9% in nominal terms and down 5.6% in real terms year-on-year.
(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 421,809 yen, down 2.3% in nominal terms and down 6.0% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 303,614 yen, down 3.7% in nominal terms and down 7.3% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in September was 64.02 million, an increase of 430,000, or 0.7%, over the same month in the previous year.
(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in September was 2.33 million, a decrease of 250,000, or 9.7%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 3.6% in September, up 0.1 point over the previous month.

(10,000 persons)
  September figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,084 –7 -0.1
Labour force 6,635 18 0.3
Employed persons 6,402 43 0.7
Employees 5,636 61 1.1
Unemployed persons 233 –25 –9.7
Not in labour force 4,444 –26 –0.6
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.9 0.2
Employment rate (%) 57.8 0.5
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.5 –0.4
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.6 -0.1

Though remaining at a high level, Japan's job availability in September was down from the previous month, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.09. This figure means that there were 109 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in September was 103.9 (2010 = 100), up 0.2% over the previous month and up 2.5% over the same month of the previous year.

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