World

Japan's jobless rate drops to 20-year low, but consumer spending drops as wages stagnate

Japan's jobless rate fell to a 20-year low in October, but consumer spending and incomes also edged lower as the tight labor market failed to spur significant increases in wages.

The government reported Friday that unemployment in the world's No. 3 economy dipped to 3.1 percent in October, compared with a rate of 3.4 percent in September.

Consumer spending, meanwhile, fell 2.4 percent from the same month a year earlier, while average incomes fell 0.9 percent.

Japan's inflation rate also was lower in October, with core inflation excluding volatile food prices down 0.1 percent for the third month in a row.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for a 3 percent increase in the minimum wage to accelerate inflation by raising consumer demand through higher incomes.