RTTNews - Japan's unemployment rate increased to a five year high in April. But while the job picture worsened, data on factory output signaled a possible easing of the nation's recession.

Inflation also eased modestly.

The government reported Friday that national unemployment hit 5.0 percent in April. The rate marked an increase of 0.2 percent from March, and was in line with the forecasts of most economists.

The government also reported that the ratio of jobs to applicants fell to a 10-year low of 0.46 from 0.52 in March.

In a separate report, the Ministry said Japan household spending declined 1.3 percent in April, the 14th consecutive monthly fall, the longest extended decline since record keeping began.

Japan Finance and Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano reacted to the data by saying he was quite disappointed that the job situation has deteriorated sharply. Yosano said employment and price conditions will be monitored very carefully.

In another report, the government said Japan's core consumer price index declined 0.1 percent in April, and overall CPI likewise fell 0.1 percent, both declines were compared to one year earlier.

Data for the Tokyo metropolitan region, considered a leading indicator for the national trend, showed May core CPI down 0.7 percent on year and down 0.2 percent on month. Tokyo overall CPI was down 0.8 percent.

The government's report on factory output, however, showed signs the recession could be easing. Factory output was up 5.2 percent compared to the month before, the second straight monthly gain after a rise of 1.6 percent in March.

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