The employment situation has deteriorated rapidly. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate went up 0.4% from the previous month in March to 4.8%, according to a survey released on May 1 by the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. The ministry was quoted in the May 1 edition of the Asahi Shimbun as saying, "The speed at which the situation is worsening is like nothing we have seen in the past."
The same ministry released a consumer price index on May 1 that looks at the price of goods, excluding fresh foods. With 2005 serving as the base of 100, prices were down from the previous year 0.1% in March to 100.7. Falling prices are a crucial indicator of a worsening economy.
Friends and associates have related to me how more companies large and small are resorting to layoffs of full-time staff. Corporate bankruptcies are rising rapidly. Many stores are going out of business. The number of people out of work has jumped. The collapse of the economy is a serious issue, and the unemployment problem is especially serious.
The Aso cabinet called its supplementary budget a recessionary measure, but from my point of view, it isn't. It is too small. They put together a supplementary budget of 15 trillion yen only to achieve a 3.3% economic contraction. To get back to zero growth, we'd need an additional 16.5 trillion yen. The Aso cabinet's economic plan is just too small.
Yet the major newspapers are criticizing the plan for its wastefulness. They're making a lot of noise about how the budget is too big. They've twisted reality inside out. It's as if they are out to crush the proposed economic policies. Newspapers, stop getting in the way of our economic recovery! That's my advice.