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[TOKYO] Japan's service sector sentiment index was unchanged in September, staying below the 50-point threshold that separates pessimism from optimism for the second straight month, a Cabinet Office survey showed on Wednesday.
The survey of workers such as taxi drivers, hotel workers and restaurant staff - called "economy watchers" for their proximity to consumer and retail trends - showed the index measuring their confidence in current economic conditions was flat at 47.4 last month.
A reading below 50 suggests that more workers are pessimistic about business conditions.
The outlook index, indicating the level of confidence in future conditions, was down at 48.7 from 50.4 in August.
In its assessment of the survey, the Cabinet Office said the economy is continuing a moderate recovery trend and the pullback in demand after the sales tax hike is easing, although rising energy costs are a concern.
The Cabinet Office started compiling the data in comparative form in August 2001. - Reuters