Japan’s labor shortage continues to climb and has reached its highest point in 43 years, Financial Times reports:
The ratio of open jobs to applicants in Japan hit a 43-year high in May, as labour shortages in the world’s third-largest economy become ever more extreme.
The closely watched indicator of Japan’s market rose 0.01 points to a reading of 1.49, the highest since February 1974, as companies struggle to fill positions from an ageing and shrinking workforce. The indicator covers all jobs, permanent and temporary. […]
Another landmark is close, as the jobs-to-applicants ratio for regular, full-time workers rose to a high of 0.99.
That implies there will soon be a full-time position with benefits and some job security for every applicant — a transformation in the Japanese labour market.
The consequences of Japan’s labor shortage will change the world. Coping with the labor shortage caused by falling birth rates and resistance to immigration in Japan will accelerate robotization. Because of the worker shortage in affluent Japan, there will be a rich market for labor-saving devices that will accelerate the development of the “post-human” workforce.
The implications are already visible. Years ago I saw the first beer-pouring machines in the lounges at Narita Airport, with no human bartender needed. That was tech nobody would bother to invent in a country with lots of poor young people looking for jobs, but in Japan it made sense.
And what happens in Japan won’t stay in Japan. New tech is relatively expensive to develop for the first time, but once it is invented, it can be replicated cheaply. So machines developed in the unusual Japanese market can and will be cheap enough to use in labor markets where workers are much cheaper than Japan.
Worker shortages in Japan will lead to worker surpluses elsewhere. Winter is coming.