Abe's economic strategy continues to deliver, latest data shows

TOKYO (AP, REUTERS) - Japanese consumer prices rose last month, showing that the country's economy continues to recover.

Government data released Friday showed that consumer prices excluding food rose 1.2 per cent in November compared to the same month last year.

Industrial output increased 0.1 per cent, the third straight month it has increased.

The unemployment rate stayed at 4 per cent and household spending slightly declined from the same month a year before.

Economists say the Bank of Japan's monetary policy combined with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic strategy has been helping the world's third largest-economy get back on its feet.

Prices for food and basic items are on the increase, but incomes of workers declined by 1.1 per cent in November.

Excluding housing costs, household spending fell by 1.2 per cent from the month before.

Meanwhile, data on Japanese wage earners' total cash earnings in November showed that it rose 0.5 per cent from a year earlier, marking the first increase in five months in a sign that upward momentum for salaries is starting to pick up.

Overtime pay, a barometer of strength in corporate activity, rose 4.7 per cent in the year to November, up for an eighth consecutive month, labour ministry data showed on Friday.

Regular pay was unchanged in November from a year earlier, following 17 straight months of declines and showing that a sustained rise in wages is far from assured.

The Bank of Japan considers wage growth as crucial in its battle to beat deflation and meet its target of achieving 2 percent inflation in roughly two years, though many economists think that timeframe is too ambitious.