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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (June 2015)

Japan's Economy Still Growing
According to a preliminary report issued by the government, Japan’s gross domestic product expanded at an annualized rate of 2.4% in the January-March period. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 60% of Japan’s economic output, rose for the third consecutive quarter, and capital expenditure and housing investment, both of which slumped after the April 2014 consumption tax hike, turned upward for the first time in a year. Residential investment is becoming robust again, growing by 1.8% in the first quarter. Export growth slowed from 3.2% in the preceding three months to 2.4% quarter-on-quarter.

Industrial Production
In April industrial production increased by 1.0% over the previous month, registering a rise for the first time in three month; it was down 0.1% year-on-year. The index in April was 99.1 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) electronic parts and devices, (2) electrical machinery, and (3) fabricated metals, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 0.5% in May and decrease by 0.5% in June.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in April
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in April was 300,480 yen, down 0.5% in nominal terms and down 1.3% in real terms year-on-year.
(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 476,880 yen, up 2.8% in nominal terms and up 2.0% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 334,301 yen, up 1.3% in nominal terms and up 0.5% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
---Unemployment rate lowest in 18 years---
(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in April was 63.42 million, an increase of 40,000, or 0.1%, over the previous year.
(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in April was 2.34 million, a decrease of 200,000, or 7.9%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April was 3.3%, an improvement of 0.1 point over the previous month. This figure was the lowest since April 1997.

(10,000 persons)
  April figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,073 -6 -0.1
Labour force 6,576 16 -0.2
Employed persons 6,342 4 0.1
Employees 5,578 29 0.5
Unemployed persons 234 -20 -7.9
Not in labour force 4,491 13 0.3
Labour force participation rate (%) 57.3 0.1
Employment rate (%) 57.3 0.1
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.6 -0.3
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.3 -0.1

Japan's job availability in April was at its highest level in over 23 years, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.17. This figure means that there were 117 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in April was 103.7 (2010 = 100), up 0.4 point over the previous month and up 2.3 points over the same month of the previous year.

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