TOKYO (TR) – Japan’s unemployment rate edged up unexpectedly in December to 4.6% from 4.5% a month earlier, Bloomberg News said, citing Japan’s statistics bureau.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the rate to remain at 4.5 percent. “Manufacturers have become cautious about hiring people in the context of global growth, the yen’s appreciation and uncertainty surrounding electricity supply” due to the impact of the March 11, earthquake and tsunami has had on Japan’s nuclear sector, Kiichi Murashima, chief economist at Citigroup Global Markets Japan Inc. said, according to the news agency.
Bloomberg also said government spending on rebuilding efforts after the quake has offset planned job reductions by manufacturers such as NEC, which announced last week it is cutting 7,000 jobs in Japan.
Still, there are signs the economy is gaining some momentum. Factory output rose 4% in December from a month earlier, led by the automotive and electronics sector, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said. Household spending also rose for a second straight month.