Japan's April Industrial Production Up; Unemployment Remains Low

Strong performance from general machinery, transport equipment and fabricated metals lifts industrial output in world's second-largest economy.

Japanese industrial production rose by 1.5% in April versus March, aided by strong performances from the general machinery, transport equipment and fabricated metals sectors.

Japan's government said shipments in April increased 2.6% from the previous month, showing an increase for the second consecutive month. Inventory in April decreased 0.1% from the previous month, showing a decrease for the first time in six months. Industries that mainly contributed to the decrease were petroleum and coal products, chemicals, and electronic parts and devices.

Production is expected to increase by 0.2% in May and by 1.2% in June, according to a government survey.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Japan was unchanged at 4.1% for the third straight month, while consumer spending fell for the fourth-straight month. Spending by households headed by salaried workers fell a price-adjusted 4.3% in April from a year earlier, the government said.

Japan's economy generally remains strong, having expanded for five consecutive quarters. For the year through March, the world's second-largest economy grew 3%.

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