Nonregular, part-time ranks now record 35.5% of workforce

Kyodo News

Nonregular workers, including part-timers, made up a record 35.5 percent of the workforce in Japan in 2007, a government survey showed Thursday.

Since the end of the asset-inflated bubble economy in the early 1990s, many employers have moved to hire nonregular workers while reducing regular payroll jobs to cut employment costs, analysts said.

Even during a period of economic expansion in 2007, many companies boosted the number of nonregular jobs, hiring more baby boomers and housewives, they said.

Of all male workers, 19.9 percent were part-timers or contract workers, while the figure for females was 55.2 percent, both record highs, according to the report by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. In 1987, the figure for men was 9.1 percent and for women 37.1 percent.

The latest survey was conducted last Oct. 1 and covered about 1 million people aged 15 or over. From 1956, when the survey started, through 1982, the ministry conducted the survey every three years. Since then the interval has been every five years.

In 2007, the number of workers increased 968,000 to 65,978,000 from the previous survey in 2002. The number of employees, excluding self-employed individuals, stood at 53,263,000, with regular workers accounting for 34,324,000 and nonregular workers totaling 18,939,000.