TOKYO — Strong economic growth cut the broadest measure of Japan's trade surplus by 19% in May from a year earlier and pushed down the jobless rate to a three-year low of 2.5%, the government said today.
The surplus in the current account, the broadest measure of a nation's commerce, including trade in goods and services as well as capital transfers, fell to $5.79 billion from $7.12 billion in April and $7.11 billion in May, 1987, the government said.
May was the second month in a row that the surplus declined from both previous-month and year-earlier levels.
During the first three months of the year, Japan's economy grew at an annual rate of 11.3%, its highest level in 11 years.
The expansion of the economy fueled heavy demand for imports, including steel, lumber and non-ferrous metals, the Finance Ministry said. Exports were led by such products as computers and semiconductors.