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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (December 2014)

According to a preliminary report by the Cabinet Office, Japan's real gross domestic product (GDP) in the July-September quarter declined for the second consecutive quarter, falling 0.4% from the previous three months for an annualized drop of 1.6%.
Following the sluggish GDP report, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe postponed a further increase of the consumption tax to 10%, planned for October 2015, and dissolved the House of Representatives. A general election is scheduled to be held on December 14. Prime Minister Abe declared that he wanted voters to approve his decision to postpone the scheduled consumption tax hike, which he said would have slowed the economy further.

Industrial Production
Industrial production in October increased by 0.2% over the previous month, registering an increase for the second consecutive month but down 1.0% year-on-year. The index in October was 98.2 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) general-purpose, production, and business oriented machinery (2) electric machinery, and (3) electronic parts and devices, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 2.3% in November and by 0.4% in December.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in October
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in October was 288,579 yen, down 0.7% in nominal terms and down 4.0% in real terms year-on-year.
(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 488,273 yen, up 1.2% in nominal terms but down 2.1% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 316,154 yen, down 0.1% in nominal terms and down 3.4% in real terms year-on-year.
The three-point consumption tax hike in April has continued to put a drag on household spending.

Consumption Expenditure Trends (Real)

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in October was 63.90 million, an increase of 240,000, or 0.4%, over the same month in the previous year.
(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in October was 2.33 million, a decrease of 300,000, or 11.4%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October was 3.5%, down 0.1 point from the previous month.

(10,000 persons)
  October figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,085 -6 -0.1
Labour force 6,623 -6 -0.1
Employed persons 6,390 24 0.4
Employees 5,629 33 0.6
Unemployed persons 233 -30 -11.4
Not in labour force 4,454 -4 -0.1
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.7 -0.1
Employment rate (%) 57.6 0.2
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.5 -0.5
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.5 -0.1

Japan's job availability in October was up over the previous month, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers reaching a high level of 1.1. This figure means that there were 11 jobs available for every 10 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in October was 103.96 (2010 = 100), down 0.3 point from the previous month and up 2.9 points over the same month of the previous year.

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