Japan’s industrial production dropped again in May even as a nationwide state of emergency was lifted, showing the severity of the pandemic’s impact on the export-reliant manufacturing sector.
Factory output fell 8.4% from April, the economy ministry reported on Tuesday. Production slid from the prior month for a fourth time in a row, something that hasn’t happened since 2012.
The result was worse than any of the forecasts from 28 analysts. The median projection was for a 5.9% decline.
A separate report showed the unemployment rate rose to the highest level in three years.
Tuesday’s production report suggests that even as the lifting of restrictions allows Japan’s factories to restart, weak global demand means there’s less work to do.
Recent rises in infection rates in the US, Japan’s biggest overseas market last year, makes a speedy recovery
Domestic spending could also stay depressed amid the fear of a second wave of virus cases and more job losses.