daily world economic update

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    Economic Releases Updated Friday 03/28/2003
    RELEASE: Employment Situation [Brazil] (11.6 % Unemployment)
    FIRST TAKE: Brazil's unemployment rate inched up to 11.6% in February from 11.2% in January, reflecting a 0.1% contraction of employment and an expansion of the labor force by 0.3%.

    RELEASE: Employment Situation [Japan] (5.2 % Unemployment)
    FIRST TAKE: The Japanese labor market report for February shows a marginal improvement over the previous month. The unemployment rate decreased 0.3 percentage points to 5.2%, a rate still high by Japanese standards. However, employment was down by 10,000 during the month. In response to the deterioration in job prospects, labor force participation continued to decrease, with 18,000 workers exiting the labor market in February alone. The poor labor market conditions are becoming manifest in spending data and in consumer sentiments.

    RELEASE: Industrial Production [Korea] (6.2%)
    FIRST TAKE: In February, South Korean industrial production grew 6.2% from a year ago, slightly up from a 6.1% rate reached in January. Manufacturing, up 6.2%, accounted for most of the gain.

    RELEASE: Employment Situation [France] (9.2 % Unemployment)
    FIRST TAKE: Labor market conditions continue to deteriorate in France. The unemployment rate rose to 9.2%, its highest value since September 2000. The number of people looking for work increased by 19,000 to 2.489 million in February.

    RELEASE: Personal Income [United States] (0.3%)
    FIRST TAKE: Personal income grew 0.3% in February, the seventh consecutive monthly gain of at least that size. Personal consumption was unchanged for the second consecutive month, due to weak auto sales and winter storms. The saving rate increased to 4.0%.

    RELEASE: University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey [United States] (77.6)
    FIRST TAKE: The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index was reported at 77.6 for March. While down 2.3 points from February, it was up 2.6 points from the preliminary release and above expectations. This suggests that consumer confidence improved after the start of the war. Both components of the index fell from February but rose from their preliminary March values.

    RELEASE: ECRI Weekly Leading Index [United States] (120.6)
    FIRST TAKE: As expected, the ECRI Weekly Leading Index (WLI) improved in the first release incorporating data from after the start of the war. The level jumped to 120.6 from 118.1 the prior week, primarily from surging equity markets, rising 10-year Treasury yields and an increasing number of new mortgage applications. The six-month growth rate also improved significantly to -1.3 from -2.3 previously.

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