Japan’s unemployment rate surprisingly increased last month while retail sales declined for a second straight month, underscoring concern that recovery in the world's third-largest economy will lose steam in the face of a stronger yen and Europe’s debt crisis.
Japan’s jobless rate rose to 4.6% in April from 4.5% in March, the first increase in three months, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of economists was 4.5%.
Japan’s jobless totaled 3.15mn in April, down 140,000 from last year, while those with jobs totaled 62.75mn, down 270,000 from the year-ago period.
The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that the weaker employment data was driven by workers more willing to give up their jobs in search of high paying opportunities or better positions.
Japanese retail sales rose 5.8% in April compared to a year ago, data released today showed. Economists had been expecting a 6.3% rise in retail sales.
Retail sales in April fell 0.3% from March, the Trade Ministry reported today. In March, Japan's retail sales were up 10.3%.
The Internal Affairs ministry also reported that average monthly consumption expenditure per household rose 3.2% to 301,948 yen in nominal terms and increased 2.6% in real terms compared to the year-ago period.