Saturday, August 04, 2007

Everything changes

Interesting graph-of-the-week over at Japan Economy & News Blog:



Click here to see it full size.

I know I am probably saying something profoundly stupid here...but I am intrigued by the sharp inflection point at 2001. Almost all lines either suddenly dip or dramatically reverse in that year, for all the age cohorts. Had I been asked to hazard a guess about the trends, I would guessed that the changes would be slurred over a couple years or that all of the lines would have plateaued for a brief period.

In the year 2001, the year Koizumi rose to power, the deck was reshuffled.

Graph courtesy: Ken Worsley, Japan Economy News & Blog.

3 comments:

Christopher said...

The most interesting line is the steady drop of the 15-24 cohort's participation in the workforce. Over the next few years as they get older we will see the other lines start to drop, too.
Sorry, you are profound and perceptive and I am glad to find you have returned to blogging about Japan, but Mr. Koizumi had nothing to do with this.
Now, if this year there was a sudden drop in the number of seniors, because they lost their pensions and couldn't live very well and their mortality rate went up, then you could say Mr. Koizumi shuffled the deck. Against them so to speak.

Lyons Wakeman said...

I believe what you may be seeing in your chart is actually the dramatic shift in Japanese employment patterns. The full-time job is becoming rare. I urge you to look at the work done by the OECD. Their research shows a clear trend toward dualism in the labor market where in less than 10 years, over 30% of the labor force is now part time. These workers earn 40% less than those full time and this is leading to greater real and sensed income inequality in Japan.

Mr Koizumi just happened along.

MTC said...

Mr. Wakeman and christopher:

Thank you for both your comments. I will look at the OECD analyses, especially since so much hoo-ha has been made over Ozawa's purported masterstroke of securing the rural vote through promises of agricultural subsidies.

As for the Koizumi reference, please note I did use the passive voice. I agree that he may have been just a guilty bystander at the time of the labor force was undergoing a silent but significant shift.