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Japan's April retail sales show surprise gain, household spending weaker than seen, unemployment steady

Shoppers look at 'lucky bags' containing luxury watches displayed outside a store on January 1, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Getty Images
Shoppers look at 'lucky bags' containing luxury watches displayed outside a store on January 1, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.

Japan's retail sales rose a faster than expected 3.2 percent in April on year, handily above an expected 2.3% gain, official data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed on Tuesday.

Earlier, data showed household spending in Japan fell 1.4 percent in April from a year earlier in price-adjusted real terms, according to government data, well below the expected 0.7 percent decline seen.

At the same time, the country's jobless rate held steady at 2.8 percent in April, though the availability of jobs rose to the highest since February 1974 as the jobs-to-applicants ratio gained to 1.48 from 1.45 in March, data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed.