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Japan's industrial production falls steeply

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  • NEW: Report cites transport equipment, general machinery industries lead decline
  • Household spending sees largest drop since recession announced
  • Unemployment rate drops but still higher than a year ago
  • Incomes rise
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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Japan's industrial production in January dropped 10 percent from the previous month, a decline for the fourth straight month, the government said.

Industrial production was expected to decrease 8.3 percent in February before reversing course and climbing 2.8 percent in March, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Leading the decline were industries in transport equipment, electronic parts and devices, and general machinery, according to its report.

Meanwhile, household spending on common items such as food and medical care fell 5.9 percent from a year ago -- the largest drop since Japan announced in November it was in a recession.

Transportation and communication took the biggest hits, dropping more than 15 percent over last year.

Incomes, however, were up by 1 percent.

Japan's Consumer Price Index held steady.


In positive news, Japan's unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped in January to 4.1 percent, down from 4.4 percent in December, according to figures released by the government Friday morning.

But the numbers were still higher than they were a year ago, with 2.77 million people unemployed in January 2009, an increase of 8.2 percent from the previous year. Video Watch the boom in "net rooms" among Japan's unemployed »

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