Japan’s average household spending dropped 1.4 per cent year-on-year in April for the 14th consecutive month of declines amid sluggish consumption, a government report showed Tuesday.
The decline was steeper than the average estimate of a 1.0-per-cent fall by a Nikkei business daily survey and followed a 1.3-per-cent decrease in March.
Inflation-adjusted monthly wages also fell 2.2 per cent from a year earlier to 472,047 yen (4,253 dollars) in April for the second month in a row, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.
The ministry also reported Tuesday that the country’s unemployment rate was flat at 2.8 per cent in April for the third straight month.
The number of employed people nationwide stood at 65 million in April, an increase of 800,000 or 1.2 per cent from the same time the previous year, according to the ministry.
Medical and welfare services added 100,000 positions to a total of 8.12 million on payrolls, while the construction industry saw a decrease of 90,000 positions to 4.92 million, the ministry said.
The relatively low unemployment rate does not reflect the whole picture, analysts say. Many workers, especially women and young people, continue to face unstable forms of employment, which remains one of the most pressing labour issues in the country, they say.
The proportion of temporary and part-time workers was at 37 per cent in April, the ministry said.
The availability of jobs, measured as the ratio of job offers per job seeker, rose to 1.48 in April from 1.45 in the previous month, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said.
Earlier this month, the government reported the world’s third-largest economy grew an annualized 2.2 per cent in the January-to-March period for a fifth consecutive quarter of expansion, thanks in part to robust exports.