TOKYO, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Sentiment in Japan's service sector improved in October for the second straight month, owing in part to a comparatively weak yen and solid stocks bolstering retail and export-linked sectors, the government said in a report on Thursday.
According to the Cabinet Office's monthly "Economy Watchers" survey, the current conditions index rose 0.9 point from September to 52.2, marking its highest reading since March 2014.
Robust sales of goods from department stores on the back of rising stock prices were partly responsible for the uptick in sentiment, the data set showed.
Brisk sales of winter clothes also helped lift the current conditions index, a Cabinet Office official said, as did a rise in orders in the construction industry.
Temperatures falling in the recording period was another reason for seasonal items such as winter attire selling more than usual, a sales clerk at a clothing store in Japan's Kanto region was quoted as saying.
The Cabinet Office official added, however, that Typhoon Lan battering wide swathes of Japan during the recording period, capped the index's rise, as retail and restaurant sales were adversely affected.
The forward-looking index, meanwhile, which gauges conditions two to three months ahead, rose 3.9 points to 54.9, the survey showed.
The Economy Watchers survey asks business-cycle sensitive workers their thoughts on existing and future economic conditions, to provide the government with a detailed picture of economic trends in Japan.
Segments of the economy surveyed in October included sectors such as retail, restaurant service, and taxi driving, and the monthly report serves as both a consumer confidence indicator and a leading indicator for the rest of the economy.
The rise in October's current conditions index was due to more people seeing business conditions as "getting better" and less people saying things are getting "worse."
The monthly government survey is gauged by a score above 50 meaning those "watchers" surveyed have an optimistic feeling about business conditions and a score below 50 means the opposite.
The outcome of the monthly survey is followed closely by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) as it reflects retail sector sentiment more precisely than some other government data.
In its latest poll, the Cabinet Office surveyed 2,050 workers nationwide from Oct. 25 to 31 and the response rate was 1,866 workers or 91.0 percent.