Japan’s economy hits longest expansion phase since WWII

Japan is currently believed to be experiencing the longest consecutive economic expansion since the end of WWII. The Japanese government’s monthly economic report issued on January 29 noted economic expansion has continued for the past 74 months, starting in December 2012, beating a previous record of 73 months seen between 2002 and 2008. 

Real-term gross domestic product has seen a 1.2% annualized growth rate since 2012, down slightly from the 1.6% rate seen between 2002 and 2008. During the highly speculative bubble years from 1986 to 1991 the rate was 5.3%. During the ‘Golden Sixties’ it was as high as 11.5%. 

With an unprecedented labour shortage, companies are aggressively strengthening their employment activities while also pursuing automation and labour-saving measures. Despite a shrinking population, there has been an increase of 3,750,000 employed persons during the current streak of economic expansion, beating the number of 970,000 seen in the early 2000s. This is due in part to more participation by women and elderly in the labour force.

Global economic conditions are, of course, something that the government is keeping a watchful eye on as trade wars, a deceleration in China and emerging economies can affect the local market in Japan. 

Sources:
The Nikkei Shimbun, January 29, 2019.
The Mainichi Shimbun, January 29, 2019.
The Sankei Shimbun, December 21, 2018.