Household spending up 1.9% in Jan.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The average consumption spending by households in the nation in January rose 1.9 percent from a year before in price-adjusted real terms, partly because electricity bills increased amid cold weather, government data showed Friday.

Spending by households comprising two or more members averaged ¥289,703, according to the data from the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

The year-on-year change was based on figures adjusted to changes in the survey method that took effect in the January report.

By category, utility payments went up 6.6 percent, with the use of air conditioners increasing.

Health and medical expenditures grew 12.5 percent, due in part to the spread of influenza.

Spending on housing, including home renovation, increased 10.1 percent.

Meanwhile, education expenditures fell 10.4 percent, reflecting reduced payments of entrance examination fees for private high schools.

The average income at wage-earning households decreased 3.3 percent to ¥442,129, the largest decline since November 2014.

The income fall partly stemmed from increased employment of elderly people whose wages are comparatively low.

In the January report, the ministry started releasing the consumption trend index, designed to track personal consumption trends more accurately by including data on spending by single-member households.

The index for January stood at 96.1 against 100 for the base year of 2015. It was down 0.8 percent from a year before in real terms, reflecting sluggish spending on trips and home appliances by single-member households.Speech

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