Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Japanese unemployment rises

This week we get a look at the employment picture in several major economies, starting with Japan's. Unfortunately, it's not a great start. Bloomberg reports:

Japan's unemployment rate unexpectedly rose for a second month, undermining the central bank's case for raising interest rates.

The jobless rate climbed to 4 percent in September from 3.8 percent last month and 3.6 percent in July, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo...

The number of jobs available for each applicant slipped for a third month to 1.05 in September from 1.06 in the previous month, the Labor Ministry said today.

September household spending, however, surprised on the positive side.

Household spending climbed 3.2 percent from the same month a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. The number benefits from being compared with a 6 percent drop in September last year, when the average income of respondents was lower. The median estimate of 32 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 1.4 percent increase.

September retail sales reported yesterday by Bloomberg had also provided a positive surprise.

Japan's retail sales unexpectedly rose for a second month in September as lingering summer heat spurred demand for cold drinks and two long weekends prompted people to fill up their gas tanks and drive.

Sales climbed 0.5 percent from a year earlier, the same pace as August, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of 18 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 0.7 percent decline.

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