31 Jan 2009

Slowdown hits Japan

10:00 am on 31 January 2009

Employment, consumer spending and industrial output are all sharply down in Japan.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.4% in December - the highest rate in three years.

Household spending was down 4.6% as consumers tightened their belts.

Industrial output in December was down 9.6% on November - the steepest decline on record as the economy recorded its biggest contraction in decades in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Analysts say the economy now looks set to record its worst quarter since the oil crisis in 1974.