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Japan's domestic economy worsened for the fourth consecutive month in January resulting from sluggishness in production that were deteriorated by this season’s record-warm winter, according to the research on economic trends for the month in question unveiled on Feb. 5 by Teikoku Databank, Ltd.

The economic diffusion index (DI) for transportation and warehousing fell by 3.1 points from the previous month to 39.5 points, declining from the previous month for two months in a row. Building material and seasonal products were stagnant in terms of freight movement due to weak consumption since the consumption tax rate was hiked in October 2019 and a decrease in production from manufacturers. Also influenced were a fall in the number of housing starts and unseasonable weather conditions on recent days. Thanks to Tokyo’s work-style reform policies, the DI for overtime work had fallen below the 50-point line for nine straight months. On the other hand, the DI for underemployment still remained at high levels, indicating that labor shortages had been adversely restricting business activities for some time now.


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