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Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (November 2016)

Japan's Population Decline and Aging Society
According to the government's national census, as of October 1, 2015, the population of Japan was 127,094,745, 0.8% less than the last census in 2010. The population of Japanese nationals totaled 124,283,901, while the number of non-Japanese residents was 1,752,368.

Of the total population, including non-Japanese residents, those aged 65 or older accounted for a record high of 26.6%, while those below 15 years of age fell to a record low of 12.6%. Such phenomena are firsts in human history, and Japan is now the most aged society in the world. The number of people aged 65 or over rose by 3.6% over the last census, while those aged 14 or under fell by 0.6%.

Industrial Production
The industrial production preliminary report for September showed signs of an increase at a moderate pace. Production remained flat; shipments and inventory ratio increased.

2010 average=100
  Seasonally adjusted index Original index
  Index Change from previous month (%) Index Change from previous year (%)
Production 97.8 0.0 102.9 0.9
Shipments 95.7 1.1 102.6 –0.1
Inventories 111.0 –0.4 110.6 –2.0
Inventory ratio 115.3 1.5 110.0 0.2

Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) general-purpose, production, and business-oriented machinery, (2) transport equipment, and (3) chemicals (excl. drugs), in that order.

According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 1.1% in October and by 2.1% in November.

Family Income and Expenditure Survey in September
(1) Expenditure for Two-or-More-Person Households

The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in September was 267,119 yen, down 2.6% in nominal terms and 2.1% in real terms year-on-year.

(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 424,553 yen, up 2.2% in nominal terms and 2.7% in real terms year-on-year. The average consumption expenditure was 296,387 yen, down 0.8% in nominal terms and 0.3% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment

The number of employed persons in September was 64.97 million, an increase of 580,000, or 0.9%, over the same month in the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in September was 2.04 million, a decrease of 230,000, or 10.1%, from the same month in the previous year. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September was 3.0%, down 0.1 point from the previous month and the lowest rate since January 1995. The unemployment rate for men was 3.3%, down 0.1 point, while that for women was 2.6%, down 0.1 point from the previous month.

(10,000 persons)
  September figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,080 0 0.0
Labour force 6,701 36 0.5
Employed persons 6,497 58 0.9
Employees 5,771 84 1.5
Unemployed persons 204  –23 10.1
Not in labour force 4,370 –38 –0.9
Labour force participation rate (%) 60.5 0.3 -
Employment rate (%) 58.6 0.5 -
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.0 –0.4 -
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.0 –0.1 -

(3) Job availability
Japan's job availability in September was the highest level since August 1991, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.38, up 0.1 point over the previous month. This figure means that there were 138 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers. The new job offers to applicant ratio, a leading indicator for the labour market, rose to 2.09. Japan has likely achieved full employment and faces a severe labour shortage.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in September was 99.8 (2010 = 100), up 0.2% over the previous month and down 0.5% from the same month of the previous year. The inflation rate remains far below the 2% target set by the Bank of Japan, which had hoped to achieve that goal around the second half of the fiscal year starting April 2017. Amid the deflationary tendency, it seems to have already given up on achieving the target by the set date.

September 2016
Index Monthly
change (%)
change (%)
All items 99.8 0.2 –0.5
All items, less fresh food 99.6 0.0 -0.5
All items, less food (less alcoholic beverages) and energy 100.4 0.0 0.0
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