Real wages fall 0.2% in March

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Tokyo skyline

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s inflation-adjusted real wage index in March dropped 0.2% from a year before, down for the first time in three months, the labor ministry said in a preliminary report Monday.

The fall came as the pace of inflation exceeded that of nominal wage growth.

The consumer price index excluding imputed rent, used to calculate the real wage index, surged 1.5% in the reporting month due to a spike in crude oil and materials prices, posting the sharpest rise since October 2018.

Total wages per worker increased 1.2% to ¥286,567 on average, up for the third consecutive month. Regular pay, including basic salaries, rose by 0.5%, overtime and other non-regular pay by 2.5%, and bonuses and other special pay by 10.7%.

The total average pay increased 1.5% to ¥372,765 for full-time workers and dropped 0.2% to ¥97,309 for part-timers.

Work hours per person totaled 136.0 hours on average, down 1.6%. While regular work hours fell 2.0%, extra work hours rose 2.8%.