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Japan's jobless rate rises to 4.4 percent

  • Story Highlights
  • Household spending plunges 3.5 percent from previous February
  • Consumer spending on furniture, clothing, medical care and food sharply down
  • More people seek fewer jobs in February than in January
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From Kyung Lah
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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Japan's unemployment rate jumped to 4.4 percent in February, reversing a decline seen the previous month, the government announced Tuesday.

Japanese unemployment, had declined to 4.1 percent in January from 4.3 percent in December. Several analysts considered that a fluke, however, since other economic indicators were in sharp retreat.

The ratio of jobs to applicants fell in February to 0.59, meaning an average of 100 people were seeking 59 available jobs, according to new data.

By comparison, January's figure was 0.67, making February's decline the worst month-to-month drop since 1974.

In addition, household spending fell 3.5 percent from the previous February but was a slight improvement from January's 5.9 percent decline. Consumer spending on furniture, clothing, medical care and food were the sharpest declines. Video Watch a report on Japan's unemployment rate »


Tuesday is the end of the Japanese fiscal year. Analysts say that is likely to mean more job cuts and more unemployment.

Japan's economy officially entered a recession in November.

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