Japan has reported that its jobless rate dropped to an 18-year low in April, but industrial production, inflation and household spending were muted as consumers kept purse strings tight.

The government said Friday that the unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in April, the lowest since April 1997, as the number of jobs to applicants rose to the highest level since 1992.

The core consumer price index, excluding volatile food prices, rose 0.4 percent, partly due to a fall in energy costs thanks to cheaper crude oil.

Aggressive monetary easing by the Bank of Japan, combined with pressures pushing the U.S. dollar higher have pulled the Japanese yen to its weakest level against the dollar since 2002. Share prices have meanwhile surged to 15-year highs. But overall growth has remained sluggish.