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Decline in Japan industrial output slows in November; unemployment rate falls

The decline in Japan's industrial production eased in November, after recording its sharpest fall in nearly two years in October, preliminary data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed.

The seasonally adjusted industrial production index contracted 0.9% month over month in November, following a 4.2% drop in October. The November print is better than the Econoday consensus estimate of a 1.4% contraction, as well as the government's own forecast of a 1.5% drop in industrial output.

Sectors that contributed to the contraction in industrial production in November include production machinery, and electrical machinery and information and communication electronics equipment.

Shipments fell 1.7%, while inventories logged a 1.1% drop. The inventory ratio increased 1.8%.

Compared with the year-ago period, the unadjusted industrial production index dropped 8.1%.

Industrial output is expected to rebound in December 2019 and January 2020, with the seasonally adjusted index growing 2.8% and 2.5%, respectively.

Separately, Japan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.2% in November, compared to the prior month's print as well as the Econoday consensus estimate of 2.4%, data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications' Statistics Bureau showed.

There were 1.51 million unemployed persons in Japan in November, a decrease of 170,000 from the previous year.

Meanwhile, the number of employed persons rose 530,000 to 67.62 million in November from a year ago.