June 6, 2019 / 11:33 PM / 6 months ago

Japan April real wages fall for fourth straight month

    TOKYO, June 7 (Reuters) - Japan's inflation-adjusted real
wages fell in April from a year earlier, down for a fourth
consecutive month in a sign that consumer spending could weaken.
    Real wages fell 1.1% in April year-on-year, labour ministry
data showed on Friday. That followed an upwardly revised 1.9%
annual decline in March.
    Monthly wage data showed nominal total cash earnings in
April fell an annual 0.1%, also down for a fourth consecutive
    Revelations earlier this year that labour ministry officials
used faulty polling methods that caused revisions cast doubts on
wage data issued by the ministry from 2004 to 2017.             
    Regular pay, which accounts for the bulk of monthly wages,
dropped an annual 0.1% in April.
    One-off special payments fell 3.2% in the year to April,
after an upwardly revised 9.4% annual decline in the previous
    Overtime pay declined 1.1% in April from a year earlier,
reflecting efforts to curb overtime in line with the
government's campaign to limit long working hours.
    The labour ministry said in January it used faulty polling
methods in compiling monthly wage data - which covers about
33,000 firms - and had failed to accurately depict the actual
strength of wage growth.
    The error has made it harder to gauge the trend for wages.
    The following table shows preliminary data for monthly
incomes and numbers of workers in April: 
   Payments               (amount)     (yr/yr % change)
 Total cash earnings   277,261 yen      -0.1
 -Monthly wage         267,437 yen      -0.1
  -Regular pay         246,796 yen      +0.1
  -Overtime pay         20,641 yen      -1.1
 -Special payments       9,824 yen      -3.2
 Number of workers      (million)    (yr/yr % change)
 Overall                50.601 mln      +1.9
 -General employees     34.937 mln      +1.0
 -Part-time employees   15.663 mln      +3.8
    The ministry defines "workers" as 1) those who are employed
for more than one month at a firm that employs more than five
people, or 2) those who are employed on a daily basis or have
less than a one-month contract but had worked more than 18 days
during the two months before the survey was conducted at a firm
that employs more than five people.
    To view the full tables, see the labour ministry's website
at:  here

 (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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