Japan Real Time Charts and Data

Edward Hugh is only able to update this blog from time to time, but he does run a lively Twitter account with plenty of Japan related comment. He also maintains a collection of constantly updated Japan data charts with short updates on a Storify dedicated page Is Japan Once More Back in Deflation?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Japanese Unemployment Rises In June Earnings Fall

Japan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to its highest level in almost two years in June adding to signs that the economy's longest postwar expansion may now finally be coming to an end. The June jobless rate climbed to 4.1 percent, according to the latest data from Japan's statistics bureau. Thi si the highest rate since September 2006.

The ratio of job offers available for each applicant slipped to 0.91, the lowest since February 2005. As compared with June 2007 there were 400,000 less people employed in June 2008. This last data`point is, perhaps, the clearest indicator of the deteriorating job market in Japan.

Spending by Japanese households also fell by 1.8 percent year on year in real terms - to an average 281,951 yen ($2,624.30) - in June. The most significant declines were in spending on housing renovations, clothing and food, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications press release.

This was the fourth straight month of decline and followed a 3.2 percent drop
in May. The overall household income also fell 2.1 percent, with the income of
household heads down 4.1 percent. Extraordinary income - basically bonuses - fell
7.1 percent in June from a year earlier.

Before adjustment for inflation retail sales rose 0.3 percent in June from June 2007 as consumers found themselves having to pay more for petrol and food. When adjusted for inflation, sales slumped 3.3 percent, again the fourth consecutive monthly decline.

The Bank of Japan cut its assessment of the economy this month, stating that the economy was slowing "further" because of weak business investment and consumer spending. I think what we now need to see is the July export and industrial production data, and then we can more or less decide whether this is simply a one quarter contraction (Q2) or a full-blown recession with the contraction extending into Q3.