Japan sees jobless surge, renewed deflation
Japan's jobless rate hit a more than four-year high as deflation returned to haunt the world's number two economy, which is reeling from its worst slump since World War II, data showed Friday.
Asia's largest economy is likely to see even higher unemployment, threatening to further depress consumer spending, as companies such as Sony and Toyota slash jobs in an effort to recover from huge losses, analysts warned.
Japan's jobless rate jumped to 4.8 percent in March, the highest level since August 2004, as the total number of unemployed surged by about 670,000, or 25 percent, from a year earlier to 3.35 million in March.
It shot up from its February level of 4.4 percent, heading towards a post-World War II high of 5.5 percent, last seen in April 2003.
There are glimmers of hope that Japan's export slump may be easing, but the government warned that a rapid recovery was unlikely.
"The main cause of the slowdown in the Japanese economy is the decline in exports. I don't think it will recover easily," said Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano.