Monday, June 29, 2009

Japan: 2.3 Applicants for EVERY Job Opening

Wonder why there is record deflation in Japan? Look no further than the job market to see why there is a HUGE lack of demand for goods. Bloomberg reports:

“The pressure to cut jobs is strong,” Jun Saito, chief economist at the Cabinet Office, said last week. Weak global demand means exports may not be strong enough to make up for the deteriorating job market at home, he said in an interview.

The ratio of positions available to each applicant dropped to 0.44, the lowest since the survey began in 1963, the Labor Ministry said. Data yesterday showed retail sales dropped 2.8 percent in May from a year earlier, the ninth monthly decline.

“The job-to-applicant ratio was really eye catching -- the data was horrible,” said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at Daiwa Securities SMBC Co. in Tokyo. “The jump in household consumption is only a frontloading of spending.”

Think that 2.3 number is scary? Well, the U.S. currently has 5 applicants for EVERY job opening.

Source: Stat.GO.JP


  1. Japan sounds like paradise! I think the ratio in the US is 5.4 looking for every job. Least that's what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says:

  2. This is the result of the real estate bubble with the foolish neo-Keynsian fix combined with the demographic trend of a top-heavy population demographic.

    Japan will be at 1965 population levels by 2050. As population is one of the three major components of economic growth (the other being natural resources and technology), a decline automatically means economic recession in demand just as the opposite increase automatically creates economic growth. Guess how Peak Oil fits into this for either the US or Japan? Guess how outsourcing technology fits into this for either the US or Japan?

    The thing that makes 2.3:1 a challenge to Japan is that they've been in a job security regime akin to the US during the 1950s until the 1990s real estate crash first challenged the presumption of lifetime employment. The US got to experience that earlier starting in the 1970s but more regularly in the 1980s.

    This delay may have been because the Japanese had radically higher savings rates but also because we never upgraded most of our heavy industries since they were created in the 1920s (and most of those created in the 1940s and 1950s simply duplicated 1920s technologies) while WWII effectively wiped out all Japanese industrial infrastructure allowing them to "do a cell phone jump over land wire phone"-style of technology shift on US industrial infrastructure giving them an advantage in steel, cars and electronics.

  3. Benjamin- that is exactly what it is. A post on that exact subject is here:

  4. I don't get it. Why does everyone bash Japan's economy? Looks great to me. 5.2% unemployment despite the worst recession in the last 80 years, and Japan is hardest hit developed country!

    Only a couple people look for a job. Lifetime employment. Essentially universal middle class. Decent universal health care. Longest life expectancy in the world.

    Japanese trains are modern, run on time, and arn't facing a huge budgetary problem like my dear old red line here in DC, which is trying to kill me with decay. (Even though I joke you should never get on a late train in Japan.)

    Lawyers in Japan are guaranteed work. The ABA has granted charters to so many crap law schools that even people like me, with GWU degrees, can't find work.

    The US is clearly an example of how to run an economy. We have opened up our economic boarders so that all our industry ran away, and everyone went to work at Wal-Mart making 40% less. The rest went to law school thanks to the ABA and they now manage Wal-Marts. (Assistant managers of course. I'm not sure who actually manages Wal-Marts.)

    Poverty in Japan is a measly 5%. In the us, it's between 12 and 17% and 58% of us Americans will spend at least a year under the poverty line between 25 and 75. Those are probably pre-"recession" figgers I reckon.

    Heck, a third of all Japanese women are homemakers. Now I'm not passing judgment on women in the workforce or anything. I don't care. What I'm saying is imagine the affluence it takes to have 15% of your workforce stay home and intentionally do such gawd-awful chores as making sure the kids don't become heathen drug addicts or worse yet mortgage commodity bundlers. (Maybe heathen was a poor choice of words?)

    Sorry to break the news, but Japan's economy doesn't stink. I do have a guess as to which economy might though!

    As I turned up the collar on
    A favorite winter coat
    This wind is blowin' my mind
    I see the kids in the street
    With not enough to eat
    Who am I to be blind
    Pretending not to see their needs...

    I'm starting with the man in the mirror
    I'm asking him to change his ways
    And no message could have been any clearer
    If you wanna make the world a better place
    Take a look at yourself and then make a change, yey
    Na na na, na na na, na na na na oh ho" - Michael Jackson

  5. The source file from the Employment Security Bureau states that these numbers are "Employment Referrals for New School Graduates".