business

Japan's low unemployment rate conceals deeper labor market pain

24 Comments
By Daniel Leussink

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Analysts fear rises in the jobless rate could put the brakes on personal consumption in Japan and delay a recovery of the world's third-largest economy, which already slipped into recession in the first quarter.

These analysts should take a moment, people are lining up for food, living in cardboard boxes right under the Tokyo ward towers. The brakes are on personal consumption because there is no money to spend.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I think they need to put those furloughed into the laid-off category and include them into the unemployment stat. 11%, I believe is a much more accurate assessment.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

simply put, don't trust any figures the Japanese government puts out.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

More to come. Many countries have not seen the worst yet.

i think that The big affect has not started yet. it will begin from in the mid june and last by the end of 2021.

Unfortunately, The poorest countries will be most affected by this virus.

Japan will be ok and recover quickly.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

That compared with an increase of just 60,000 in the number of unemployed people, which only includes those who were actively seeking employment during the survey period, among other criteria.

This is one very important number here that is NEVER included, those "not" seeking employment! There are an estimated 500,000 people in Japan that are considered N.E.E.T, which would skew the unemployment numbers all on it's own, not to mention those who are woefully "underemployed"! as well. Even if you work 1 hour a week you are counted as being "gainfully employed".

Japan has kept it's unemployment numbers artificially low for decades now, following the bubble bursting, they changed how they report the unemployment statistics and leave these very important numbers out of the equation.

The workers in Japan facing the brunt of those cuts are often workers without job security - part-timers, contract workers and temporary workers, who account for 36.2% of the total number of workers. The number of non-regular workers posted the biggest year-on-year drop on record in April, the data showed.

How many of these "non-regular" workers were not paid over the course of the last two months? If you arent paid, you really are not "employed" but the government, for statistical purposes, keeps them as being employed.

Why does the government play with numbers like this? The intent is to keep society calm and not focused on the very real social and economic problems that are bubbling beneath the surface. If the people THINK that everyone has a job, then they THINK that things are fine, and dont start questioning the policies of the government. The government wants the status-quo to stay in place and not agitate society.

Look what happens when people have time on their hands and start to look closer at how things are run here, Abe got slammed in SNS by the people here for his policy decisions, and that is because people had time to comment, and THINK about what's going on! That is the LAST thing Abe & Co. want!

12 ( +14 / -2 )

@Yubaru put you blinkers on, there is no need for truth in Japan. You are confusing, upsetting the locals. We both know how easily the truth throws them in to a state of panic

Best to have endless meetings that resolve nothing.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The workers in Japan facing the brunt of those cuts are often workers without job security - part-timers, contract workers and temporary workers,

So Japanese managers need to desperately cut costs. What do they do? They fire the most cost-effective segment of their workforce, while retaining the most costly ones. Then watch as they go crying to the govt for a bailout.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Full stats are available on this site. About two thirds of the 66 million labor force are self employed or in their own business. Labor Force Participation Rate is 62 million.

https://tradingeconomics.com/japan/part-time-employment

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Out of any statistics put out by the Japanese government, the labor statistics is the least worthy to trust. Even worse than their Covid-19 statistics. The labor statistics have been manipulated and hidden for decades, and many OECD nations have suspected the credibility of Japanese economic data.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"OECD nations have suspected the credibility of Japanese economic data."

Thanks a bunch for reassuring me of the reliability of the UK statistics matters concerning employment statistics.

You've just lifted a ton of weight from my shoulders; I can now sleep certain of a brighter sunny day tomorrow.

You need to get real man..

That's one of the reasons I never drink alcohol or smoke anything.

Helps in keeping your neurons in a fairly reasonable shape.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I've been partially furloughed and taken a pay cut, but no doubt as far as the government is concerned, I am still "fully employed". You'd better believe I won't be spending money like before until my paycheck recovers, though. This article is right, the numbers aren't telling the full story.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Yubaru put you blinkers on, there is no need for truth in Japan. You are confusing, upsetting the locals. We both know how easily the truth throws them in to a state of panic

Best to have endless meetings that resolve nothing.

(Slapping myself upside the head here) You are right! My bad! (Off to that "meeting" at the pachinko parlor with the 100,000 money from the government!)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Some articles show that the actual unemployment rate is much higher than what is reported. It says that the current way of counting the unemployed is keeping the rate at the lowest possible number by not including a large portion of the population.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Yabaru you got ¥100, 000 how? I'm sitting under my mail box......no joy

0 ( +1 / -1 )

;-)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I know so many out of work and will not go back for a long time....Such BS from the Japanese government

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This has been an unspoken but well known "secret" for decades. The MSM loves to promote Japans unemployment record without doing any real investigative reporting. Underemployed and people working in service jobs that are dead end, is more like the majority. Now that the Olympics is off for now and the welcome Japan crap has died off due to the corona...its just that this has been brought to the surface.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Yubaru you got ¥100, 000 how? I'm sitting under my mail box......no joy

Not in the mailbox! You should be sitting by your ATM! Or the head of household who applied for it!

My wife filed last week Monday, and we got it on Thursday! She was happy!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The workers in Japan facing the brunt of those cuts are often workers without job security - part-timers, contract workers and temporary workers

Gather all these people, employ them in factories that make PPE, N95 masks, testing equipment, etc. Sell them to overseas as well as locals. People would rather buy Made In Japan medical equipment.

Act NOW ! Get rid of the usual Japanese bureaucracy in times like these. Start putting up factories ( ie more jobs for construction workers and construction companies), employ transport companies to ferry these factory workers ( ie more jobs for out-of-work tourist bus drivers), and start getting to work.

Strike while the iron is HOT!!

The world needs more medical equipment, face masks, etc. Japan can step up and at the same time provide jobs for its own people.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I've moved to an ATM, still nothing.mind you have not received the application form yet! Guess I'm not as special as I am told.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've written about this before. The Jobless figures in Japan are not a matter of straight-foward unemployed vs employed. Employed is straightforward enough (generally - assuming you're paying Taxes).

Unemployed is however, "not employed, yet still looking for work, and reporting as such, to the Employment office, regardless whether you are still legible for support or not"... so clearly, if you no longer receive any income support from the Employment office, going there and waiting to fill-in paperwork to simply say you are looking for work still, is a pointless endeavour. Basically, the long-term unemployed are off the statistics.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've moved to an ATM, still nothing.mind you have not received the application form yet! Guess I'm not as special as I am told.

Good Luck! We received 600,000 total! My wife is REALLY happy! She only gave me half of mine!

Oh well!....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It appears from this discussion that the underlying problem here for the government is the business community, the corporations and small business alike and the work force itself that is behind the need to alter the design of the reporting system and the problems that causes in properly addressing the economy's GDP.

It would be interesting if (A) the entire population from age 16 to age 70 or even 80, that are capable of working physically and mentally, are counted then compared to those registered as unemployed and (B) another compared to those that want to work but unable to 1) due to required skill levels (technical, physical, etc.), 2) due to handicaps 3) due to communication skill levels (written/oral etc.), 4) due to low wages, 5) due to government and other regulations and requirements such as certifications, 6) due to family and other obligations and needs (such as caring for elderly parents) and any other significant and meaningful factors for consideration.

If such data figures were available, unemployment percentage figures may have more practical application and meaning. Given the massive ability of social media giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and even Line that gather inordinate number of personal data, they may already have a handle on much of that information. For all we know, all the smartphone companies may already have such data shared with those companies.

Coordinate with information from the Tax office and social welfare office data then you have a good picture of who is registered and working (employed and paying taxes) and who are incapable work and by eliminating those registered unemployed and looking for jobs, one can even identify those capable of working, that may or may not be working but not registered in any category.

But then that is a scary scenario which reminds one of current Chinese regime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If I work one hour a week, do I still get counted as employed? Just asking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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