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Average household spending declined an inflation-adjusted 3.7 percent in September from a year earlier to 283,390 yen for the sixth consecutive monthly fall, the government said Tuesday.

The decline in household spending, a key gauge of personal consumption, overshadowed the 1.1 percent slip in August, the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry said.

The September figure was largely due to lower spending on education, transportation and communications.

Spending on transportation and telecommunications dropped 8.3 percent to 33,167 yen, mainly due to a decline in automobile-related expenses.

Education fell 18.2 percent to 13,618 yen, led by decreased outlays on tuition, textbooks and other study materials.

Food, the biggest spending category for households, fell 1.5 percent to 70,187 yen, while utilities shrank 5.1 percent to 19,504 yen. Spending on homes dropped 7.1 percent to 18,489 yen.

Health care and medical treatment along with culture and recreation were the only areas in which spending rose. The health area was up 8.3 percent to 10,800 yen, and entertainment rose 0.8 percent to 28,132 yen.

Spending by wage-earning households, which accounts for 60 percent of overall household spending, dropped a real 1.3 percent to 312,797 yen, while spending by other households declined 6.3 percent to 243,353 yen.

Average spending by all households in the July-September quarter fell a real 2.1 percent from the same period a year earlier to 300,200 yen, marking the second consecutive quarter of decline.

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