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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (July 2015)

On July 2 RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) carried out its final tally of wage hike settlements reached in the 2015 Spring Struggle for a Better Life. RENGO's survey revealed that 5,469 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 obtained by these unions was 6,354 yen (about $52), an increase of 2.2% over the average wage before the hike. Of these unions, 4,111 unions with under 300 members had reached settlements. The average wage hike achieved by these small and medium-sized unions was 4,547 yen (about $37), an increase of 1.88% over the average wage before the hike.
A total of 293 unions had reached settlements concerning hourly wage hikes for nonregular workers. The average settlement saw the hourly wage rise by 17 yen (about $0.14) to 918 yen (about $7.5).

Industrial Production
In May industrial production decreased by 2.2% from the previous month, registering a decrease for the first time in two months and down 4.0% year-on-year. The index in May was 97.1 (seasonally adjusted).
Industries that mainly contributed to the decrease were as follows: (1) transport equipment, (2) chemicals (excluding drugs), and (3) electronic parts and devices, in that order.
According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 1.5% in June and by 0.6% in July.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in May
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households
The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in May was 286,433 yen, up 5.5% in nominal terms and up 4.8% in real terms year-on-year. This was the first increase in 14 months following a consumption tax hike in April last year.

(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 430,325 yen, up 2.2% in nominal terms for the second straight month and up 1.5% in real terms year-on-year.
The average consumption expenditure was 317,317 yen, up 8.3% in nominal terms and up 7.5% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
The unemployment rate reached its lowest level in 18 years.

(1) Employment
The number of employed persons in May was 64.00 million, an increase of 20,000 over the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in May was 2.24 million, a decrease of 180,000, or 7.4%, from the same month in the previous year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 3.3%, the same level as the previous month. This figure is the lowest since May 1997.
The employment of women increased in May, and the unemployment rate for women dropped 0.2 percentage point to 3.0%, the lowest since February 1995. The unemployment rate for men increased 0.2 point to 3.6%.

(10,000 persons)
  May figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,0763 -6 -0.1
Labour force 6,624 -16 -0.2
Employed persons 6,400 2 0.0
Employees 5,624 32 0.6
Unemployed persons 224 -18 -7.4
Not in labour force 4,443 8 0.2
Labour force participation rate (%) 59.8 -0.1
Employment rate (%) 57.8 0.1
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.4 -0.2
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.3 0.0

Japan's job availability improved 0.02 point over the previous month in May to reach its best level in over 23 years, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.19. This figure means that there were 119 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in May was 104.0 (2010 = 100), up 0.3 point over the previous month and up 0.5 points over the same month of the previous year, in spite of a continued drop in crude oil prices weighed on inflation.

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