The jobless rate rose in October for the first time in three months, adding to evidence that the postearthquake rebound is fading.
The unemployment rate increased to 4.5 percent from September, the Statistics Bureau said Tuesday, exceeding the median estimate of 4.2 percent by 29 economists in a survey. Those not in the workforce fell by 220,000 and payrolls were unchanged from September, the bureau said.
Government reports have pointed to slower growth with exports sliding in October and industrial output declining. Manufacturers including Panasonic Corp. and TDK Corp. have announced job cuts as a yen near a post World War II high against the dollar erodes profits.
“We’re already starting to see the impact of the global economic slowdown,” said Yoshimasa Maruyama, a chief economist at Itochu Corp. “We have to keep a close eye on how the global slowdown will affect Japan’s economy.”
In a more positive sign, a separate report Tuesday showed retail sales rose 1.9 percent in October, more than the 0.7 percent median forecast of 15 economists surveyed.
Demand for cars and clothing increased, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed.
Manufacturers shed 210,000 jobs in October from the same month a year ago, Tuesday’s data showed.
Panasonic is forecasting its biggest annual loss in 10 years and has accelerated plans to eliminate 17,000 jobs, while TDK, the world’s biggest maker of magnetic heads for disk drives, said it may eliminate 11,000 jobs, about 12 percent of its workforce.
Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa on Monday signaled the central bank is ready to bolster stimulus to protect the economy from Europe’s deepening debt crisis.
The initial boost the economy got from its recovery from the March 11 record earthquake has started to wear off, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report Monday. Reconstruction demand will help drive growth through the middle of 2012, it said.
Another report Tuesday showed that the job-to-applicant ratio failed to rise in October for the first time in five months. There were 67 positions open for every 100 candidates, the labor ministry said.
The economy expanded at an annual 6 percent pace in the three months ended September, ending a nine-month contraction. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expect growth to cool this quarter and moderate further next year.
Average spending by households fell a real 0.4 percent in October from a year earlier to ¥285,605, marking a year-on-year decline for the eighth straight month, the government said Tuesday.
The rate of decline, however, is shrinking gradually, an official at the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said.
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