Consumer prices grew 0.2%, month-on-month, and 3.9%, year-on-year. The increase of consumer prices was fully brought about by a 0.8% increase in regulated prices, while market prices remained flat. The regulated prices grew mainly in the wake of price increases in public telecommunication services (by 5.6%) and also due to higher railway transport prices (by 13.1%). On the other hand, lower prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, clothing and footwear, and automotive fuel pushed inflationary figures downward.
The rate of unemployment decreased from 9.4% in January to 9.3% in February, the number of out-of-work people diminished by 4 thousands to 485 thousands. However, compared to February 2001 it is higher by almost 20 thousands. The mild drop in unemployment rate resulted mainly from a seasonal behavior of labor market.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate in the U.S. economy was essentially unchanged in February at 5.5%. The number of workers on non-farm payrolls rose slightly in February, after 6 months of losses that totaled 1.3 million. The non-farm payroll employment was up by 66,000 in February.
Japan's GDP fell 1.2% in the fourth quarter of last year. The decline from the previous quarter was the third in a row, capping the longest slide in gross domestic product since the end of World War II.
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