January 25, 2019
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has compiled the results of its regional economic and industrial research that the regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry conduct on a quarterly basis to identify regional economic trends. METI hereby releases the results.
The assessment of the national economic situation remains the same as that in the previous quarter. It is “improving moderately.” Compared to the previous quarter, the assessment of regional economic conditions has been revised upward in the Hokkaido and Chugoku regions and has remained the same in other regions.
1. Regional Economic and Industrial Research
The regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry survey enterprises in their service areas using interviews and other techniques on a quarterly basis for the purpose of identifying economic trends, such as those related to business conditions, production, and investment in facilities, and they collect and analyze the survey results.
- Survey period: From November 21 to December 21, 2018
- Number of target companies: 775
2. General summary
The national economic situation is improving moderately (no change).
While some industries seem to be negatively affected by the trade dispute between the United States and China and hold concerns over future sales, production as a whole remains steady as seen in steady performance of machine tools and other products in the general-purpose, production, and business-oriented machinery industry and steady performance of products for automobiles and smartphones in the electronic parts and devices industry. Proactive movement is seen in business investment for enhancing production capacity in order to be able to fulfill more orders and fortifying laborsaving equipment to overcome labor shortages. The employment situation as measured by the jobs-to-applicants ratio remains strong. As for private consumption, while some businesses are showing weak performance due to the impact of the warm winter weather, brisk sales continue to be seen in luxury goods.
3. Regional summaries
[Hokkaido] Picking up moderately with some weakness observed (upward)
Production shows signs of picking due to a recovery from the decrease caused by the earthquakes and blackout. Private consumption also shows signs of picking up due to a recovery in sales of duty-free items and an increase in demand for emergency supplies. Tourism tends to recover for both domestic and overseas tourists due in part to the effect of a special discount campaign for revitalization of Hokkaido Prefecture.
[Tohoku] Picking up moderately with some weakness observed (no change)
Production shows signs of picking up in the transportation equipment industry, while some businesses in the production machinery industry are sluggish, mainly in semiconductor-related products. Private consumption is at a standstill due to weak movement in sales of winter clothing and other products due to high temperatures.
[Kanto] Improving (no change)
Production remains steady, while some show concerns over the international situation. The employment situation is steadily improving. Private consumption is picking up despite the influence of the warm winter.
[Tokai] Improving (no change)
Production remains at a high level in the transportation equipment industry and shows an increase in the electronic parts and devices industry despite some showing weak performance. Private consumption is moderately picking up due to the steady performance in convenience stores and drug stores.
[Hokuriku] Improving (no change)
Production remains at a high level mainly in the electronic parts and devices, and chemicals industries, while some businesses show concerns over future production. Private consumption is picking up mainly in convenience and drug stores.
[Kansai] Improving moderately (no change)
Production shows signs of moderately picking led by the transportation equipment and other industries. Private consumption remains brisk in sales of duty-free items and luxury goods and is moderately improving, while some show weak performance.
[Chugoku] Picking up (upward)
Production maintains a recovery performance from the influence of heavy rains in July 2018 and it shows moderate signs of picking up. Private consumption shows signs of picking up due to the effect of a variety of bargain sales, campaigns and other events.
[Shikoku] Picking up moderately (no change)
Production shows signs of moderately picking up backed by steady demand in the general-purpose and production industry and the plastic products industry. Private consumption shows signs of picking up while some businesses have been influenced in sales of seasonal products, such as fall and winter clothing, due to continuous high temperatures.
[Khusyu] Improving moderately (no change).
Production continues to be at a high level. As for business investment, some businesses tend to invest in laborsaving, renovating of stores or maintaining or upgrading facilities. Private consumption maintains steady performance in sales of luxury goods and cosmetics, while some businesses show sluggishness in sales performance of products involving hot-pot dishes and winter clothing.
[Okinawa] Continuing to improve (no change)
Against the backdrop of an increase in the number of tourists and the improvement of employment environments, private consumption continues to improve. Business investment is also picking up.
Note: The term “upward” means a higher performance from the previous research results, the term “no change” means performance remaining flat, and the term “downward” means lower performance.
Division in Charge
Regional Economic and Industrial Research Office, Regional Economic and Industrial Policy Group