June 29th, 2010
12:44 AM GMT
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New figures show Japan's job market has taken a hit.

The unemployment rate in the world's second largest economy rose to 5.2 percent in May – up from 5.1 percent in April. That may be hurting confidence among Japanese consumers, as household spending fell 0.7 percent.

Goods rolled out of Japan's factories at a slower pace in May. Industrial production fell a tenth of a percent in May compared to April.



soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. rick hosser

    China is the worlds second largest economy

    June 29, 2010 at 4:15 am |
  2. Joe

    Lets define unemployment in Japan? Does this number include the 18-35 year olds who chose not to pursue long time work? Or the elderly women 35 years old + who are house wives? If the definition combines these statistics, unemployment would be much higher then Japan is reporting.

    The real question is who is really working? If it is not a life time job, most positions are short 1 to 2 years contract based positions. Also, Japan being one of the largest welfare super power in the world, it supports millions of unskilled laborers to pave, build, and dig ditches. But I guess this is considered "employed." hmmmmm.....

    June 29, 2010 at 5:22 am |
  3. inaka_rob

    You should check your facts before you post incorrect information. On all major official lists JAPAN has the worlds 2nd highest GDP. China is close behind and will no doubt overtake Japan (probably the USA in our lifetime) soon. When people say economy they usually are referring to the GDP of a country.

    June 29, 2010 at 5:36 am |
  4. inaka_rob

    Joe: you are right to a large degree. Something like 30 percent of all people who are employed on any scale are part time employees. It has been a trend in Japan for companies to hire many part time workers instead of fewer full time workers. They can cut benefits and with high turn around with part time jobs, pay raises are less likely to happen. It is very frustrating indeed. My (Japanese) girlfriend has a job. In fact she has two jobs!!! Even added together they would hardly add up to what we in the west would called "employed." Yes she is working, but not enough hours, nor steady enough to begin to support herself is she was 100% on her own. Living in Japan its very said to actually see it shrinking and money wash up here and there. I have only been here 3 years but you can see it everywhere. I think the problem is, things don't seem that bad to the Japanese people so they lack that drive that they had after WW2.

    June 29, 2010 at 5:42 am |
  5. Ricardo

    The Japanese are holding to their money. Nobody wants to spend. Long gone were the free-spending style of the Japanese. No output – no input (production) hence no need for workers = unemployment.Gone were the golden age of Japan? Japaneses workers are turning "golden" age though.

    June 29, 2010 at 5:44 am |
  6. Joe

    Haha. Yes Ricardo Japanese are turning golden age, and thats why to fix their economy Japan should re invent itself and market all new products to their elderly. Only the elderly have money. Their kin are feeding off of them, and are in no position to buy anything that Japans outputting.

    June 29, 2010 at 5:58 am |
  7. ysbee

    Is this an analysis, or just the memo on a Post-It?
    As other comment says, the world's 2nd largest economy is of China, not of Japan.

    There is upsetting trend of discontent within Japanese. They felt being betrayed by Hatoyama-Kan administration, since the new government had never achieved any promises in the last election.

    I thought CNN could point out that significance in the Japanese trend.
    This cheap article is just too pathetic!

    June 29, 2010 at 6:05 am |
  8. Jay

    Rob, you are incorrect to say the Japanese lack drive after WWII. How else could they have grown to the world's second largest economy after WWII? The Japanese white collar worker is one of the hardest working professionals in the world as a whole. Perhaps THE hardest working. Studies frequently show # of hours worked per country and Japan is always at or near the top. Personally I have seen this first-hand. The Japanese 30-55 year old is a working machine. Let's not forget that their ~5% unemployment is about half the US average now..

    June 29, 2010 at 6:21 am |
  9. Joe

    Unless something big happens in the market, Japan is just not a popular topic, so little effort will be put into writing an article that few will actually read in the first place.

    June 29, 2010 at 6:23 am |
  10. Nate

    @Joe: Unemployment is the number of people who are unemployed and are currently looking for work. If Anyone who is retired, a housewife, or has given up on searching for a job is not included in those figures. It is the percentage of the labor force that is out of work, not the percentage of the country that doesn't have a traditional job.

    June 29, 2010 at 6:47 am |
  11. amir

    S.Korea and China did to you to Japan, what she did to Europe and US in 80's. They knocked out Japan in high and low tech field.They copied their system and products. Also they are victim of their close business culture.Final shot was iPhone,it did damage to their confidence similar to what A bomb did in WII.
    Japanese companies usually pay dividends to stock holder much less and in replace they save 2 or 3 years cash reserve for recession time. Next year if situation continues as it is now, there will be a mass unemployment in Japan as already there is about %30 excess working force in companies.

    June 29, 2010 at 7:31 am |
  12. Greg Demmons

    I live here and am a former Investment advisor. I can tell you that any figures you receive from the Japanese government are totally unrevealing. This is the same country that refuses to report productivity number to the OECD. Why? It is probably the most inefficient country in the world. The economy here is totally out to lunch. Any admission by the Japanese government that they are not efficient or attempting to improve efficiency is a loss of face. Massive numbers of people work long, unrecorded and unpaid hours for the sake of the company. The companies keep them because they do not want to admit that they will have to let people go. It is a tragedy that is about to wreak havoc on the country as more and more young people remain unemployed and their parents run out of savings to support them.

    June 29, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  13. flip

    capitalism = fail

    June 29, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  14. Kevin

    The article is correct. China does not have the 2nd largest economy.

    June 29, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  15. rick hosser

    inakka_rob You should check your facts again, notice how close the two countries G.D.P.'s are. Then account for China's record breaking G.D.P. growth and Japans lousy year and you might wake up and realize that yes China is NOW the second largest economy in the world.

    June 29, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  16. rick hosser

    Also if you know anything about economics and China then you understand what a black market is...Unreported

    June 29, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  17. White Naturalized Japanese

    My company in the English field is massively recruiting and the population crunch will see the need for massive immigration to fill the jobs of those retiring.

    Also, as I make more than enough for my wife to not work, I'd rather her not. Such women registered for tax purposes are not counted as unemployed for the obvious reason: one must want employment to be denied it.

    June 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  18. Nancy Turner

    The Japanese are big savers – they save 20% of their income. The inflation rate in Japan is gigantic....it is very expensive to buy anything in Japan. Sending a child to a private school K-12 costs 2.3 million yen per year. Even though Japan has economic problems, they keep their exchange rate very low – $1 in 2008 was worth 124 yen....now it is worth 87 yen. This does not help Japan's export or tourist business because it makes Japan and their goods too expensive. Visiting China and Chinese goods are affordable.

    June 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  19. N.H

    >rick hosser
    You should check on the world's economic ANNUAL data.
    According to the last year's statistics of world's economies, it was very close but Japan was second, China was third.
    Probably this year has rank changes but so far we have no data.
    We better base on the actual data to discuss.
    Don't you think?

    June 30, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  20. john

    Very interesting comments. Lots of good information, dis-information, flat out you-don’t-know-what-you-are-talking-about information. I can't imagine it matters whether China or my country Japan is #2, that's not the point of the article. Unemployment is up in Japan, and any rise is very definitely way worse than in most countries. That's because, as one of you pointed out, about a third of all workers in Japan (98% of them women), are part-time workers doing full-time work, without any of the benefits (insurance, retirement, bonus ...). They are also not counted in the unemployment figures since most don’t make enough to pay taxes. Thus Japanese unemployment figures are notoriously low to start with, and only apply to a small part of the working population.
    I also agree that almost any economic data from the government should be taken pretty much in the same vein as any such data from China. The one main difference I see, and thus perhaps something positive for the future, is that the economic gap in Japan is no where near what it is in China (or India or SEA).

    July 1, 2010 at 8:08 am |
  21. Chris in Japan

    I have been in Asia for over 20 yrs and I am still surprised by the fact that any city in Japan looks much less depressed than the downtowns back home in the States... And maybe people Joe should study how experts derive economic numbers, rather than commenting on a country he probably had absolutely no idea about... honestly I grew to understand why my fellowmen are not popular outside of US – instead of surfing from web put out stupid emotional comments pls do try to get out and see the world. you may be able learn something...

    July 4, 2010 at 2:42 am |
  22. Cooper Foster

    the unemployment rate on our country is growing bigger and bigger due to government mismanagement;:'

    October 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  23. Glass Shelving 

    unemployment is of course a socio-economic problem that we must address seriously-:~

    October 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  24. Gate Latch ·

    unemployment is always a problem with any nation `-`

    November 10, 2010 at 11:19 am |
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