Japanese economic data released this morning has been mixed, with household spending jumping sharply while unemployment ticked higher.
From a year earlier household spending increased by 2.9% in August, well above the 0.4% rate expected and 0.2% contraction of July.
While it impressed, there was more mixed news on the health of the nation’s labour market.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.4% from 3.3% in July. Markets had been expecting no change overall.
Despite the small rise in unemployment there were further signs that labour market conditions will continue to tighten, with the jobs-to-applicants ratio rising to a fresh multi-year high.
The ratio — simply a measure of jobs available to those looking for employment — rose to 1.23, the highest level since January 1992.
Although an impressive figure on the surface, the continued uplift is largely due to Japan’s rapidly ageing population, rather than any meaningful improvement in overall economic conditions.