Analysts were caught off guard today on news that Japan’s unemployment rose to 5.2 percent in May from 5.1 percent the previous month. It was expected that unemployment would actually fall slightly to 5.0 percent in May.
Household spending fell 0.7 percent in May when compared to May 2009. Again, this was a surprise as the forecast called for a 0.4 percent increase year-over-year.
“Today’s reports show Japan’s economy is clearly slowing down” after growing at an annual 5 percent pace in the first quarter, said Kyohei Morita, chief Japan economist at Barclays Capital in Tokyo. “Consumer spending is weakening because the impact from government stimulus measures is fading.”