The Employment of Young People in the Kansai Region:
Present Status and Issues for the Future
February 7, 2007
In conjunction with the recovery of exports, particularly of shipments to China and other Asian countries, which started in early 2002, the economy of the Kansai Region also began to recover, led by the corporate sector. The duration of the recovery phase is thought to have exceeded that of the "Izanagi Boom". In parallel with this economic recovery, employment in the Region is also showing steady improvement.
Since the 1990s, the Kansai Region has seen a rapid diversification of forms of employment, with a significant increase in the number of non-regular employees, especially in the younger age bands (those aged 15-34). This is largely because the use of non-regular labor has spread across all industries.
Given that employment of young people in the Kansai Region has recently shown signs of improvement, including a rise in graduate recruitment, it is possible that the upward trend in the number of non-regular employees will slow, but the improvement in employment conditions for young people as a whole, as well as graduates, has not been uniform. Reasons why employment conditions facing young people in the Kansai Region are difficult as compared with those found in the Chubu Region, where conditions are relatively good, include (i) the fact that demand for labor has been weaker than in the Chubu Region, owing to the stagnation of corporate activity in the Kansai Region, and (ii) the fact that demand for labor from small and medium enterprises has been weaker because the business management conditions facing small and medium enterprises have been harsher than in the Chubu Region.
The weakness of demand for labor in the Kansai Region is due to structural differences in the industry and economy of the Kansai and Chubu Regions and, if this weakness is to be remedied, the first task should be to promote a steady expansion of better-quality employment. Enterprises should also consider how to make the best use of workers under a range of employment formats, including the training of human resources. The government should strive to increase the efficacy of measures to help young people find employment and develop job skills, and should promote the shift from unemployment to employment and from non-regular to regular employment.
For more information on the content of this report, please contact Mizuho Nishiura, the Japan Research Institute, Limited.