|Year over Year||-1.5%||1.2%||-3.1%|
February household spending surprised and gained for the first time in six months. Spending was up 1.2 percent from a year ago in contrast to expectations of a 1.5 percent decline. Spending dropped 3.1 percent in January. Spending on education jumped 17.9 percent and medical care was 13.1 percent higher. Food was 3.3 percent higher. However, spending on housing (down 3.7 percent), fuel, light & water charges (down 3.2 percent), clothing & footwear (down 6.3 percent and furniture & household utensils (down 4.9 percent) all were lower on the year.
Household spending is an important gauge of personal consumption, which accounts for roughly 55 percent of Japan's gross domestic product.
The report looks at spending of households and gives a picture of consumer spending. Increases in household spending are favorable for the Japanese economy because high consumer spending generally leads to higher levels of economic growth. Higher spending is also a sign of consumer optimism, as households confident in their future outlook will spend more. The preferred number is the change from the previous year. The data are part of the family income and expenditure survey which is released at the same time as the employment and unemployment data.
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