Japanese Service Demand Unexpectedly Fell on Rising Unemployment

Japan’s [B]Tertiary Index[/B] surprised to the downside, showing service demand shrank -0.1% in May versus expectations for a 0.4% gain. It seems job losses are starting to catch up with the world’s second largest economy even as the effects of the government’s massive 25 trillion yen fiscal package continue to be digested. Consumption is likely to remain lackluster as the unemployment rate continues to climb, weighing on overall economic growth and holding back recovery from the worst Japanese recession since World War II. Yesterday, the Bank of Japan slashed its GDP growth forecast for the 2009 fiscal year and said consumer demand “remains generally weak.”