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Data Indicate Japan Edging Into Recession

May 29, 2001|From Bloomberg News

Japan's jobless rate climbed to a near-record 4.8% in April and workers' spending dropped unexpectedly, the latest signs that the world's second-biggest economy may be sliding back into recession.

Meanwhile, Japan's industrial production fell for a second straight month in April as exporters slowed assembly lines in response to a drop in orders.

Production at factories dropped 1.7%, seasonally adjusted, last month from March, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Companies shed 370,000 jobs last month, lifting the unemployment rate from 4.7% to just below the record 4.9% reached in January, the government said.

A separate report said spending by households headed by a salaried worker fell 1.3% from March. Economists had expected a 1% increase after a 3% drop in March.

The drop in spending comes as exports, which helped lift Japan out of its last recession, decline. In response, companies are reducing prices, trimming production and reducing overtime.

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