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No.231 (2017/3/8)
Economic and Labour Situation in Japan (March 2017)
The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare has released the results of its Basic Survey on Wage Structure, 2016, which investigated the basic monthly wages of general workers (excluding short-time workers) in that year.

(1) The average monthly wage was 304,000 yen (no change from the previous year). By gender, the average monthly wage was 335,200 yen (no change) for men and 244,600 yen (up 1.1%) for women. The average monthly wage for woman was the highest ever and was 73.0% that of men, the smallest gap ever.

(2) Wage differentials by enterprise size and gender
For men, the average monthly wage was 384,800 yen (down 0.7% from the previous year) in large companies (more than 1,000 full-time workers), 320,200 yen (0.0%) in medium-sized companies (100-999 full-time workers), and 290,900 yen (up 0.8%) in small companies (10-99 full-time workers). For women, it was 268,700 yen (up 0.1%) in large companies, 242,300 yen (up 0.8%) in medium-sized companies, and 219,100 yen (up 1.2%) in small companies.

(3) Wage differentials by type of employment
The average monthly wage for regular workers was 321,700 yen (up 0.2% over the previous year), and that for nonregular workers was 211,800 yen (up 3.3%). The average monthly wage of nonregular workers was therefore 65.8% that of regular workers (up from 63.9% in the previous year).

Hourly wages of short-time workers
The average hourly wage of short-time workers was 1,075 yen (up 1.5% over the previous year). By gender, it was 1,134 yen (up 0.1%) for men and 1,054 yen (up 2.1%) for women. Both of these figures were the highest ever.

Industrial Production
The industrial production preliminary report for January showed movement to be picking up. Production and shipments decreased and inventories remained flat, but inventory ratio increased.

2010 average=100
  Seasonally adjusted index Original index
  Index Change from
previous month (%)
Index Change from
previous year (%)
Production 99.8 -0.8 92.7 3.2
Shipments 99.5 -0.4 91.2 3.5
Inventories 107.5 0.0 111.2 -4.3
Inventory ratio 111.4 1.7 121.2 -4.1

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

Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were as follows: (1) electronic parts and devices, (2) plastic products, and (3) pulp, paper, and paper products

According to the Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing, production was expected to increase by 3.5% in February and to decrease by 0.8% in March.

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

The average monthly consumption expenditure per two-or-more-person household in January was 279,249 yen, down 0.6% in nominal terms and 1.2% in real terms year-on-year.

(2) Income and Expenditure for Workers' Households
The average monthly income per household stood at 441,064 yen, up 1.6% in nominal terms and 1.0% in real terms year-on-year. The average consumption expenditure was 307,150 yen, down 1.7% in nominal terms and 2.3% in real terms year-on-year.

Labour Force Survey Monthly Results
(1) Employment

The number of employed persons in January was 64.70 million, an increase of 460,000, or 0.7%, over the same month in the previous year.

(2) Unemployment
The number of unemployed persons in January was 1.97 million, a decrease of 140,000, or 6.6%, from the same month in the previous year. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January was 3.0%, down 0.1 point from the previous month. The unemployment rate for men was 3.2%, down 0.2 point, while that for women was 2.6%, down 0.1 point from the previous month.

(10,000 persons)
  January figures Change from previous year
Population aged 15 years or over 11,110 -1 0.0
Labour force 6,667 32 0.5
Employed persons 6,470 46 0.7
Employees 5,793 59 1.0
Unemployed persons 197 -14 -6.6
Not in labour force 4,438 -34 -0.8
Labour force participation rate (%) 60.0 0.3 -
Employment rate (%) 58.2 0.4 -
Unemployment rate, original series (%) 3.0 -0.2 -
  Current month Change from previous month
Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted (%) 3.0 -0.1 -

(3) Job availability
Japan's job availability in January was at the highest level since August 1991, with the ratio of job offers to jobseekers standing at 1.43, the same level as the previous month. This figure means that there were 143 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers. The ratio of new job offers to applicants, a leading indicator for the labour market, rose to 2.13. Japan has likely achieved full employment and faces a severe labour shortage.

Consumer Prices
The consumer price index in January was 100.0 (2010 = 100), up 0.4% over the previous month and up 0.1% over the same month of the previous year. The inflation rate remains far below the 2% target set by the Bank of Japan.

January 2017
Index Monthly
change (%)
change (%)
All items 100.0 0.4 0.1
All items, less fresh food 99.6 0.1 0.3
All items, less food (less alcoholic beverages) and energy 100.3 0.2 0.0
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