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Regional Economic Report (Summary) (April 2010) *

  • This report summarizes the reports from all regional research divisions, mainly at the Bank's branches in Japan, and is based on data and other information gathered for the Bank of Japan's branch managers' meeting held today. The English translation is based on the Japanese original.

April 15, 2010
Bank of Japan

All of the nine regions in Japan maintained the view similar to the January 2010 report that their respective economies had picked up, although there remained differences in the pace and extent of the recovery.

Compared with the assessment in January 2010, two regions (Shikoku and Kyushu-Okinawa) maintained their assessments, while the other seven regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, Kinki, and Chugoku) reported an upward change in the economic trend, such as an increase in signs of improvement or acceleration in the pace of improvement in the economy.

However, most regions continued to point either to the low level of economic activity (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, and Kinki) or to differences in developments among regions, industries, or firms (Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa).

Table : Regional Economic Report (Summary) (April 2010)
Region Assessment in January 2010 Difference
between
assessments 1
Assessment in April 2010
Hokkaido The economy has shown signs of picking up, although it remains stagnant. upper right The economy is increasingly showing signs of picking up, although it remains stagnant.
Tohoku The economy, especially the manufacturing industry, has shown signs of picking up, although economic conditions as a whole remain severe. upper right The economy is increasingly showing signs of picking up, although economic conditions as a whole remain severe.
Hokuriku The economy has shown some signs of picking up, although economic conditions as a whole remain severe. upper right The economy is picking up moderately, although economic conditions as a whole remain severe.
Kanto-Koshinetsu The economy has picked up moderately, although differences among regions and industries remain. upper right The economy has continued picking up, although differences among regions and industries remain.
Tokai The economy has picked up as a whole, although differences among industries and firms remain large. upper right The economy has continued picking up, and differences among industries and firms have been moderating gradually.
Kinki The economy, with some lingering severity in employment, has picked up moderately. upper right The economy, with some severity in employment, is picking up steadily.
Chugoku The economy, having leveled out, has shown some signs of picking up. upper right The economy is picking up.
Shikoku Economic conditions have remained more or less unchanged as a whole, although there are some signs of picking up. unchanged Economic conditions have remained more or less unchanged as a whole, although there are some signs of picking up.
Kyushu-Okinawa The economy has picked up, albeit moderately. unchanged The economy has picked up moderately as a whole, although differences among regions remain.
  1. With regard to the difference between assessments, arrows pointing to the upper right and lower right indicate changes in the pace of improvement or deterioration compared with the previous assessments, respectively. For example, an acceleration in the pace of improvement or deceleration in the pace of deterioration is indicated with an arrow pointing to the upper right. A horizontal arrow pointing to the right indicates that the pace of improvement or deterioration in economic conditions has remained unchanged compared with the previous assessments.

As for private consumption , all regions pointed to continued policy effects, and six regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa) noted signs of either picking up or leveling out in consumption of other than durable goods. However, private consumption as a whole remained weak in six regions (Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Kinki, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa).

By goods, all regions reported a continued increase in sales of household electrical appliances and passenger cars, but Shikoku and Kyushu-Okinawa reported that the pace of increase in sales of passenger cars had slowed. Although sales at large retail stores such as department stores remained severe as a whole, four regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, and Tokai) reported moderation in the year-on-year rate of decline in sales. Six regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa) noted that travel-related demand had either increased or stopped decreasing.

As for business fixed investment , six regions (Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa) reported that the decline was coming to a halt, and Hokkaido reported that it had"started to increase, although remaining at a low level." However, Tohoku reported that business fixed investment had continued to decline substantially, and Tokai reported that it had remained at a low level.

By industry, such regions as Hokkaido, Chugoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa noted that, mainly among exporting manufacturers such as electrical machinery and transportation equipment, business fixed investment on the whole was concentrated in maintenance and replacement investments, but there also were investments to expand production capacity. As for nonmanufacturing, Tokai and Kyushu-Okinawa noted large-scale investments in infrastructure-related sub-industries, and regions such as Hokkaido reported opening of new stores in retailing.

Production continued to either pick up or increase in all regions, and some regions (such as Hokuriku and Chugoku) reported that the uptrend in production was becoming widespread in sub-industries. Meanwhile, Tohoku and Shikoku reported that, amid a continued increase in production as a whole, the pace of increase had slowed at some firms with high production levels.

By industry, all regions reported production increases or high production levels in motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts as well as electronic parts and devices, although Tohoku and Shikoku reported that the pace of increase in production had slowed. Four regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Tokai, and Chugoku) reported an increase in production levels for iron and steel. As for general machinery, six regions (Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, Chugoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa) reported an increase in production levels, while Shikoku noted continued low levels in production. Meanwhile, for paper and pulp, three regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, and Shikoku) reported that production cuts or low production levels had continued.

As for the employment and income situation , the employment situation remained severe in all regions, but four regions (Tohoku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, and Chugoku) reported signs of either an improvement or leveling out. Meanwhile, six regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, Chugoku, and Shikoku) reported that the ratio of job offers to applicants had improved.

Household income was on a declining trend in most regions. In this situation, Tohoku and Tokai reported that nominal wages had increased year on year, and four regions (Hokuriku, Tokai, Chugoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa) reported an increase in non-scheduled cash earnings.

Table : Regional Economic Report (Summary) (April 2010)
Region Private
consumption
Business fixed
investment
Production Employment and income
Hokkaido Showing signs of picking up, mainly due to policy effects. Has started to increase, although remaining at a low level. Has begun to pick up. The employment situation continues to be severe.
Household income continues to be in a severe situation, as firms have continued to cut back personnel expenses.
Tohoku Continues to be weak as a whole, although some policy effects have appeared. Declining substantially. Has continued to pick up. The employment situation is showing signs of improvement, although it continues to be severe.
Nominal wages have exceeded the previous year's level for the first time in 17 months, although household income as a whole continues to decline.
Hokuriku Weak as a whole, although some signs of picking up have continued to appear due to policy effects. The decline has been coming to a halt, especially in manufacturing. Has picked up steadily in a wider range of industries, mainly due to the increase in exports, especially to Asian countries such as China. The employment situation continues to be severe, as the ratio of job offers to applicants remains at a low level and the number of regular employees remains low.
Household income has remained below the previous year's level due to the decline in scheduled and special cash earnings, although non-scheduled cash earnings have increased lately.
Kanto-Koshinetsu Although private consumption continues to be weak as a whole amid the continued severe employment and income situation, (1) effects of policy measures have lasted, mainly in durable goods consumption, and (2) some signs of picking up have appeared in such areas as sales at large retail stores and hotel room occupancy rates. Has continued to decline substantially, but the pace of decline has moderated especially in manufacturing, amid widespread improvements in corporate profits. Continues to increase due to progress in inventory adjustments both at home and abroad as well as policy effects. The employment situation continues to be severe, but labor market conditions have stopped deteriorating.
Household income has continued to decline.
Tokai Picking up as a whole: while consumption of durable goods such as automobiles has remained at a high level, that of non-durable goods and services -- which had been sluggish -- has shown signs of bottoming out. Remaining at a low level. Increasing. Labor market conditions have improved, although the employment and income situation as a whole remains severe.
Household income has recovered to around the previous year's level, as nominal wages have exceeded the previous year's level, reflecting a rise in non-scheduled cash earnings.
Kinki Consumption of durable goods has picked up due to policy effects, while that of other goods and services has remained weak amid a continued decline in household income. Showing signs of leveling out amid continued improvement in corporate profits. Is increasing, reflecting the increase in exports and policy support to promote sales of energy-efficient electrical appliances.
Meanwhile, inventories have continued to decrease.
As for the employment situation, the number of employees has continued to decline, while the ratio of job offers to applicants remains at a low level.
Wages have continued to be weak.
Household income has continued to decline.
Chugoku Showing signs of picking up, mainly in durable goods consumption, due to policy effects. The decline has been coming to a halt. Is increasing moderately. The employment situation has remained severe, but the ratio of job offers to applicants has improved slightly, after a substantial decline, as new jobs have been offered particularly in some manufacturing industries.
Non-scheduled cash earnings have increased due to the pick-up in production, although household income as a whole continues to be relatively weak, mainly reflecting firms' cutback in personnel expenses in response to weak corporate profits.
Shikoku Relatively weak as a whole amid the severe employment and income situation, although sales of durable consumer goods have remained at high levels due to policy effects. The decline seems to be coming to a halt. Has picked up moderately, but the pace has recently slowed slightly. The employment situation remains severe.
Household income has declined.
Kyushu-Okinawa Continues to be weak as a whole, although durable goods consumption has increased due to policy effects, and consumption of high-end products and services has shown some improvement. Has almost leveled out, although remaining at a low level. Increasing steadily, albeit moderately. The employment and household income situation has been severe.
The downtrend in the number of regular workers continues and the ratio of job offers to applicants has remained at a low level, although the ratio of new job offers to new applicants has exceeded the previous year's level.
Total cash earnings per person have been below the previous year's level as a whole, although non-scheduled cash earnings have exceeded the previous year's level.

Appendix: Prefectures Included in Each Region

Table : Appendix: Prefectures Included in Each Region
Region Prefectures
(a) Hokkaido Hokkaido
(b) Tohoku Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, and Fukushima
(c) Hokuriku Toyama, Ishikawa, and Fukui
(d) Kanto-Koshinetsu Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Niigata, Yamanashi, and Nagano
(e) Tokai Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi, and Mie
(f) Kinki Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, and Wakayama
(g) Chugoku Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi
(h) Shikoku Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime, and Kochi
(i) Kyushu-Okinawa Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa

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