Japan's unemployment up, spending down

Business Materials 30 September 2008 11:44 (UTC +04:00)

Household spending in Japan slumped sharply and unemployment climbed in August, the government said Tuesday, adding to growing evidence that an already fragile economy is faltering amid a global slowdown.

Japan's unemployment rate rose slightly in August to 4.2 percent -- the highest level in more than two years and up from 4.0 percent in July, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, reported CNN.

The number of unemployed persons stood at 2.72 million, a 9.2 percent increase from the previous year, while the number of employed persons fell 0.6 percent from a year earlier to 64.05 million.

Separate government data Tuesday showed that spending by Japanese households fell sharply in August as families cut back on housing, education and recreational expenses.

Average household spending, a key barometer of consumer demand, fell 4.0 percent during the month to 291,154 yen ($2,781).

The government also said that Japanese industrial production declined 3.5 percent from July, the first fall in two months, amid slower output by makers of transport equipment, general machinery and electric machinery.