Japan's economy goes from doldrums to despair

I don't know quite what to say about Japan's GDP numbers; horrifying is the word that springs immediately to mind.  Free fall is the second:  it declined at an annualized pace of nearly 13% last quarter, as exports plummeted and companies slashed investment.

And the Wall Street Journal says the decline isn't finished yet:

Already, data point to further deterioration in the economy. Industrial output is expected to drop by around 20% during the first quarter, a government survey says. After tumbling by a record 35% in December, exports sank 46% from a year earlier during the first 20 days of January. In this environment, the jobless rate could climb to an all-time high of 6% or so later this year, from 4.4% in December, economists say.

It wasn't long ago that I was pleased to start writing that Japan was creeping out of more than a decade of doldrums; now it seems to me that this was just the very tail end of America's credit bubble, as our uncontrolled spending boosted demand in an economy that was still fundamentally weak.

Update:  A Fistful of Euros has more.

Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Business

Just In