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Japan: Unemployment hits six-year high

Justin McCurry
London Guardian [1]
Friday, July 31, 2009

Unemployment in Japan has risen to its highest level for six years, sparking fears that the country’s recovery is being hampered by deflation and weak demand at home.

The number of people out of work has risen 31% in the last year to 3.48 million, pushing the jobless rate up to 5.4% in June from 5.2% a month earlier. Job availability also fell to a record low of 43 positions for every 100 job seekers, the government said today.

The grim unemployment data was accompanied by a warning that prices fell at a record pace last month, showing that deflationary pressures are haunting the world’s second biggest economy. Core consumer prices, which do not include food, dropped by a record 1.7% in the year to June.

But the Nikkei stock average defied the gloomy data and gained 1.9% to close at a 10-month high of 10356. The gains were seen as a reflection of better-than-expected earnings results from some major Japanese companies this week.

Full article here [1]