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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (May 2015)

On April 16 RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) carried out its fourth tally of wage hike settlements reached in the 2015 Spring Struggle for a Better Life. RENGO's survey revealed that 1,418 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 7,205 yen, the equivalent of 2.39% of the average wage before the hike.

Industrial Production
In March industrial production decreased by 0.3% from the previous month, registering a decrease for the second consecutive month and down 1.2% year-on-year. The index in March was 98.6 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the decrease were as follows: (1) electrical machinery, (2) petroleum and coal products, and (3) fabricated metals, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 2.1% in April and decrease by 0.3% in May.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in March
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in March was 317,579 yen, down 8.1% in nominal terms and down 10.6% in real terms year-on-year.
(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 449,243 yen, up 2.5% in nominal terms but down 0.3% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 351,974 yen, down 8.5% in nominal terms and down 11.0% in real terms year-on-year.
The increased consumption expenditure in March 2014 was due entirely to a last-minute surge ahead of a consumption tax hike from 5% to 8% implemented from the following April.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in March was 63.19 million, an increase of 210,000, or 0.3%, over the previous year.
(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in March was 2.28 million, a decrease of 180,000, or 7.3%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March was 3.4%, an improvement of 0.1 point over the previous month.

(10,000 persons)
  March figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,074 -7 -0.1
Labour force 6,547 3 0.0
Employed persons 6,319 21 0.3
Employees 5,580 39 0.7
Unemployed persons 228 -18 -7.3
Not in labour force 4,521 -8 -0.2
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.1 0.0
Employment rate (%) 57.1 0.3
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.5 -0.3
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.4 -0.1

Japan's job availability in March 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 March was 103.3 (2010 = 100), up 0.2 point from the previous month and up 2.3 points over the same month of the previous year.

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