Japan's April data dump has beaten across the board

Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images

Japanese economic data for April has beaten across the board on Tuesday, although, with the exception of a variety of labour market indicators, the figures were largely unimpressive.

Starting with the strongest data first, the national unemployment held steady at 3.2% in April, a figure that was in line with expectations.

Demonstrating that labour market is continuing to tighten, and perhaps laying the foundation for increased wage pressures, the national jobs to applicants ratio — simply the number of jobs available to job seekers — rose to 1.34, the highest level seen since November 1991.

Put another way, for every 134 jobs that are available, there are only 100 job seekers available.

Outside of the employment indicators, the news elsewhere was OK.

Household spending increased by 0.2% for the month, easily beating forecasts for a decline of 0.6%, helping to trim the year-on-year decline to 0.4%.

The annual figure was well ahead of the 5.3% contraction registered in March, and topped expectations for a smaller contraction of 1.4%.

Rounding off the list of data beats, industrial output increased by 0.3%, well ahead of forecasts for a contraction of 1.5%.

Although stronger than expectations, it was down on the 3.8% increase registered in March, largely as a result of supply and output disruptions caused by earthquakes in the south of the nation in April.

Looking further ahead, firms indicated that that they expect output to increase 2.2% in May before moderating to 0.3% in June.

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