* Oct industrial output falls 1.8 pct vs forecast -3.25 pct
* Sept jobless rate rises, Oct household spending falls
* Weak data pressure BOJ to maintain loose policy (Adds analyst quotes, details)
By Stanley White
TOKYO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Japanese factory output fell in October by the most since February 2009, as slowing exports and the diminishing effects of stimulus-driven consumption cloud the outlook for the fragile economic recovery.
A leading indicator of export orders marked the biggest fall in a year and a half in November, while the jobless rate rose and household spending slumped, suggesting that the economy's expected return to growth early next year will be slow and tenuous.
The weak batch of data will also keep the Bank of Japan under pressure to maintain its very loose monetary policy.
Industrial output fell 1.8 percent in October, government data showed on Tuesday, less than a median estimate for a 3.25 percent fall but marking the fifth straight month of declines. [JPIP1=ECI]
Manufacturers surveyed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry expect output to rise 1.4 percent in November and 1.5 percent in December, the data showed.
"Output fell less than forecast but it's still quite a big decline from its peak in May," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.
"Domestic car sales and exports are weakening, while the yen has also strengthened. It's hard to see output returning to a recovery path until all these factors turn around."
Graphic on output, inventory: link.reuters.com/vak67q
More stories on Japan's economy [ID:nECONJP]
EXPORTS, AUTO OUTPUT
Japan's economy is expected to contract in the final quarter of this year as exports weaken and auto output slumps after government subsidies for purchases of low-emission cars expired in September.
Many analysts expect growth to pick up early next year on support from solid exports to fast-growing Asia, but only at a very moderate pace.
The Nomura/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 47.3 in November from 47.2 in October, staying below the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for a third month in a row.
The PMI index for new export orders, a leading indicator of exports, fell to 46.9 from the previous month's 48.4, showing that export orders contracted at their fastest pace in 19 months.
Separate government data showed the jobless rate rose to 5.1 percent in October from the previous month's 5.0 percent. Household spending fell 0.4 percent in October from a year earlier, partly due to the end of government subsidies for buyers of environmentally friendly automobiles.
The BOJ last month eased monetary policy by pledging to keep rates effectively at zero until the end of deflation was in sight and announced a plan to spend 5 trillion yen on assets ranging from government bonds to corporate debt.
BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa has said that increasing the size of the fund was a clear option if the looming economic slowdown proved worse than expected. But the yen's retreat from 15-year highs scaled early this month makes any radical near-term action unlikely. [ID:nL3E6MI0E3] (Additional reporting by Rie Ishiguro; Editing by Edmund Klamann)