(Nikkei: March 12, 2015 – p. 5)
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare issued on March 11 a survey report on labor economic trends in February. According to the report, the diffusion index (DI) for excess/lack of full-time employees (calculated by subtracting the percentage of businesses that said they are experiencing an excess of employees from the percentage of those experiencing a lack of employees) increased by 9 points from November 2014 to 31, the highest level since February 1999. As a result of the economic recovery, a broad range of industries such as manufacturing, transportation and medical services are scrambling for workers amid the declining birth rate. The survey is conducted quarterly. Up until this time, the highest level was recorded in on Feb. 28, 2007.
In February, the DI for excess/lack of part-time employees also marked a record high of 29, up three points from 26 in November 2014. The DI for full-time employees exceeded that for part-time employees for the first time in six years and nine months. The report shows that the shortage of full-time workers is more serious than that of part-time personnel. A ministry official explained that this is “because companies try to hire more full-time employees and have them work for a long time when there is a labor shortage.”
Looking at specific industries under the DI for full-time employees, the financial industry’s DI increased by 19 points to 30 due to such reasons as an increase in recruitment as a result of strong sales of financial products and the inclusion of credit unions and associations in the financial industry grouping for the survey.