Japan core inflation little changed, household spending weak

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has reported that its inflation and jobless rates were little changed in January and consumer spending was lackluster. The economic data released Friday show the world's No. 3 economy coasting along with only slight improvements despite recent stronger exports and manufacturing...

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has reported that its inflation and jobless rates were little changed in January and consumer spending was lackluster.

The economic data released Friday show the world's No. 3 economy coasting along with only slight improvements despite recent stronger exports and manufacturing output.

The government said core inflation excluding volatile food prices rose 0.1 percent, mainly due to an uptick in energy prices. The unemployment rate edged slightly lower, to 3.0 percent, and the number of jobs per applicant remained at a 26-year high.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan's planners have been trying to rekindle inflation in hopes of getting consumers and businesses to spend more, but demand has remained more or less flat for the past year. Households spent 1.2 percent less in January than a year earlier.

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