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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (April 2015)

The Japan Council of Metalworkers' Unions (JCM) achieved its largest annual wage increase in 16 years in the 2015 spring labour struggle. The unions belonging to the JCM submit demands relating to wages and working conditions every February and engage in collective bargaining with their companies.
Toyota agreed to increase monthly standard wages by 3.2%, or 11,300 yen (US$94), and Nissan also agreed to raise monthly standard wages by 3.2%, or 11,000 yen (US$92), the most since the current format for negotiations was introduced in 2002. Both companies also met theirs unions' bonus demands in full.
On March 20 RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) carried out its first tally of wage hike settlements reached in the 2015 Spring Struggle for a Better Life. RENGO's survey revealed that 798 unions that had demanded average wage hikes for members and engaged in labour-management negotiations had reached settlements by that time. The average wage hike in these settlements (including the regular wage hike) was 7,497 yen, the equivalent of 2.43% of the average wage before the hike. This figure was 1,006 yen more than at the same stage last year and up 0.27 percentage points.

Industrial Production
In February industrial production decreased by 3.4% from the previous month, registering a decrease for the first time in three months and down 2.6% year-on-year. The index in February was 98.9 (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) electronic parts and devices, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to decrease by 2.0% in March and increase by 3.6% in April.

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 February was 265,632 yen, down 0.4% in nominal terms and down 2.9% in real terms year-on-year.
(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 488,519 yen, up 1.9% in nominal terms but down 0.7% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 291,387 yen, down 1.1% in nominal terms and down 3.6% in real terms year-on-year.
The three-point consumption tax hike last April has continued to put a drag on household spending.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in February was 63.22 million, an increase of 390,000, or 0.6%, over the previous year.
(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in February was 2.26 million, a decrease of 60,000, or 2.6%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February was 3.5%, an improvement of 0.1 point over the previous month.

(10,000 persons)
  February figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,074 –5 –0.0
Labour force 6,548 32 0.5
Employed persons 6,322 39 0.6
Employees 5,595 51 0
Unemployed persons 226 –6 –2.6
Not in labour force 4,520 –38 –0.8
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.1 0.3
Employment rate (%) 57.1 0.4
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.5 –0.1
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.5 -0.1

Japan's job availability in February remained at its highest level in over 23 years, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.15. This figure means that there were 115 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in February was 102.9 (2010 = 100), down 0.2 point from the previous month and up 2.2 point over the same month of the previous year.

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