Japan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate came in at 4.4 percent in February, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said on Tuesday, touching a three-year high.

That was slightly higher that forecasts for a 4.3 percent increase after the 4.1 percent gain in January.

The number of employed persons in February was 62.65 million, a decrease of 270 thousand or 0.4 percent from the previous year.

The number of unemployed persons in February was 2.99 million, an increase of 330,000 or 12.4 percent from the previous year.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio for February fell to a six-year low of 0.59, below the median market forecast of 0.63 after coming in at 0.67 in January.

All household spending was down 3.5 percent on year, declining for the 12th consecutive month, the data showed, versus expectations for a 4.7 percent annual fall after the 5.9 percent contraction in January. Wage earner household spending was off an annual 1 percent.

The propensity to consume came in at 75.7 percent, up 1.6 points on year. It was 87.1 percent in January.

Also on Tuesday, the ministry said that labor cash earnings were down 2.7 percent on year in February, versus expectations for a 1.5 percent fall after the revised 2.7 percent contraction in January.

Scheduled earnings were off 1 percent, while total hours worked was down 5.1 percent. The total number of employees was up 0.5 percent, thanks to a 2.1 percent increase in part-time workers.

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