TOKYO (Kyodo) — The number of employees in Japan's manufacturing industry marked its first increase in 15 years last year, underlining an expansion in the country's production activity, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Wednesday.
The number of people working for manufacturers employing 10 or more staff as of the end of 2006 increased 2.3 percent from a year earlier to 7,473,379, the first rise since 1991, the ministry's census of manufacturers showed in its preliminary report.
The result was due mainly to strong performances at carmakers as well as among nonferrous metal and electronic device manufacturers, METI said.
Of Japan's 47 prefectures, 41 marked an increase.
The total value of shipments grew 6.9 percent to 306.26 trillion yen, the fourth consecutive year of increase, as rising crude oil and raw material costs pushed the prices of nonferrous metal and oil products higher.
The number of manufacturers with 10 or more employees rose 2.3 percent to 136,754 for the first increase in five years.
Per-employee added value, which represents companies' productivity, gained 1.6 percent to a record 13.82 million yen.