WHERE'S THE RECOVERY: Japan's industrial output fell 3.3 percent in June, the first decline in five months and a reminder of the fragility of the recovery in the world's third biggest economy.

WHERE'S THE RECOVERY: Japan's industrial output fell 3.3 percent in June, the first decline in five months and a reminder of the fragility of the recovery in the world's third biggest economy.

THE BACKDROP: Such indicators suggest weaker growth in China may be sapping some of the momentum from the recovery. But the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, its lowest level since October 2008 and the onset of the global financial crisis. The jobless rate had been at 4.1 percent during the previous few months.

CONFUSION: The most recent data have officials questioning whether the government should go ahead with a promised sales tax increase that economists say could derail progress in restoring growth and breaking free of deflation.