Japan’s Real Wages Down 1.2 % in May

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry

TOKYO July 7 (Jiji Press) — Japan’s inflation-adjusted real wage index in May dropped 1.2 % from the year before, down for 14 months in a row, the labor ministry said Friday.

Still, the May drop was smaller than the 3.2 % decline marked a month earlier, apparently reflecting pay hike agreements at many companies in this year’s “shunto” spring labor-management talks.

Nominal wages per worker rose 2.5 % to ¥283,868 on average.

Of the total, regular pay including basic salaries went up 1.8 %, while overtime and other nonregular pay inched up 0.4 %. Special pay including bonuses surged 22.2 %.

The consumer price index excluding imputed rent, used to calculate the real wage index, climbed 3.8 % for the reporting month, showing that price increases still outpace wage growth.

Nominal wages for full-time workers averaged ¥368,417, up 3.0 %, and those for part-timers stood at ¥102,303, up 3.6 %.

Work hours per person on average rose 1.9 % to 133.5 hours. Regular work hours increased 2.0 %, while overtime stood unchanged.