TOKYO (AP) -- Cautious Japanese companies laid off more workers and hit the brakes on production in February, sending factory output down for the first time in a year.
Industrial production in the world's second-biggest economy retreated 0.9 percent from January, following 11 consecutive months of gains, the government said Tuesday. The result undershot Kyodo News agency's average market forecast of a 0.4 percent decline.
A separate report showed
February's output lull is expected to be temporary. The Lunar New Year holidays during the month lowered demand across Asia, and a surprisingly robust 2.7 percent jump in January pointed toward an inevitable downturn in the following month.