Japan’s industrial output fell 3.3 percent in May from the previous month due to lower production of cars and construction equipment, preliminary government data showed on Friday, in a sign of a temporary lull in manufacturing activity.

The result compared with the median estimate of a 3.2 percent decline in a Reuters poll of economists.

It followed a 4.0 percent increase in April, which was the fastest increase in almost six years, the data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed.

Manufacturers surveyed by the ministry expect output to rise 2.8 percent in June and fall 0.1 percent in July.

In other data, Japan’s core consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in May from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday.

The core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, compared with economists’ median estimate for a 0.4 percent annual gain.

Stripping away the effect of fresh food and energy, consumer prices were unchanged in May from a year ago.

Core consumer prices in Tokyo, available a month before the nationwide data, were unchanged in June from a year earlier, versus economists’ median estimate that prices were unchanged from the same period a year ago.

Japanese household spending fell 0.1 percent in May from a year earlier in price-adjusted real terms, government data showed on Friday, compared with the median estimate of a 0.6 percent decline in a Reuters poll of economists.

Japan’s jobless rate rose to 3.1 percent in May, while the availability of jobs rose for the third straight month to reach the
highest since February 1974, data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed on Friday.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate compared with the median forecast of 2.8 percent in a Reuters poll of economists. It stood at 2.8 percent in April.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio rose to 1.49 from 1.48 in April.

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