The Japanese economy shrank an amazing 12.7% in the fourth quarter of 2008. for comparison, the US economy fell by 3.8% in the quarter. Japan Economy Shrinks 12.7%, Steepest Drop Since 1974 Oil Shock
“There’s no doubt that the economy is in its worst state in the postwar period,” Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano said in Tokyo. “The Japanese economy, which is heavily dependent on exports of autos, electronics and capital goods, has been severely hit by the global slowdown.”
Capital investment fell 5.3 percent. Manufacturers cut production by a record 11.9 percent in the quarter, indicating they have little need to buy equipment as factories lay idle. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than half of the economy, dropped 0.4 percent, as exporters fired workers.
The jobless rate surged to 4.4 percent in December from 3.9 percent, the biggest jump in four decades.
The decline is huge. Economies shrinking 2% is a large and fairly rare event. Shrinking over 10% is dramatically bad. The drop appears to be largely due to falling exports as consumer spending only dropped by .4 percent. Since 1930 the US economy has only fallen over 10% in a year 1932 and 1946. And real GDP has fallen over 2% only 5 times, the most recent time close to that large a fall was in 1982 with a 1.9% decline). Data from the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis. There is a good chance the US GDP will decline between 2-3% in 2009.
Related: Dreadful economic results in Japan suggest that things will only get gloomier – Over 500,000 Jobs Disappeared in November – Economic Fault: Income Inequality – Goldman Sachs Rakes In Profit in Credit Crisis (2007)