Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Gloom persists in Japan and the US

Japan's economic gloom isn't lifting yet. AFP/CNA reports:

Japanese unemployment rose to 4.4 per cent in February, up from 4.1 per cent the previous month, as firms cut jobs and close factories to cope with the deepening recession, the government said Tuesday...

Separately, Japanese household spending tumbled 3.5 per cent in February from a year earlier as the public watched their expenses to cope with the deteriorating economy, according to official figures Tuesday.

Neither is the gloom in the US. From Bloomberg:

Confidence among U.S. consumers stayed near a record low and a survey of purchasing managers showed business deteriorated further in March, indicating the economy remains deep in a recession.

The Conference Board’s confidence index rose to 26 this month from 25.3, the lowest reading since data began in 1967, in February. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said its business barometer decreased more than forecast to 31.4; readings below 50 signify a contraction...

The S&P/Case-Shiller index showed today that home prices in 20 U.S. cities fell a record 19 percent in January from a year earlier, as demand plummeted and foreclosures rose. The decrease in the gauge, which has fallen every month since January 2007, was more than forecast and compares with an 18.6 percent drop in December.

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