September 5, 2019 / 11:33 PM / a month ago

Japan real wages drop for 7th straight month in July

    TOKYO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Real wages in Japan adjusted for
inflation fell for a seventh month in July, adding to worries
whether consumer spending can be sustained while the economy
wrestles with slower global growth.
    Real wages slumped 0.9% in July from a year earlier, labour
ministry data showed on Friday, after a 0.5% annual decline in
    Monthly wage data showed nominal total cash earnings dropped
0.3% in July, falling again after rising for the first time
since last December the previous month.
    Regular pay, which accounts for the bulk of monthly wages,
gained 0.6% to rise for the first time since December.
    One-off special payments shed 2.2% in July from a year
earlier, after a 1.1% gain in June.
    Overtime pay was 0.6% higher in July from a year earlier,
rebounding after slipping 1.0% in June.
    Revelations this year that labour ministry officials used
faulty polling methods, which forced revisions, cast doubt on
the accuracy of the ministry's wage data from 2004 to 2017.
    The mistake has made it more difficult to grasp the actual
strength of wage growth.
    Japan is planning to raise its sales tax to 10% from 8% next
month. The last sales tax rise in April 2014 caused consumer
sentiment to sour, leading to an economic downturn.
    Solid domestic consumption and capital spending have helped
offset the drag on the world's third-largest economy from an
eight-month export slump this year.
    The following table shows preliminary data for monthly
incomes and numbers of workers in July:
   Payments             (amount)     (yr/yr % change)
 Total cash earnings   377,334 yen      -0.3
 -Monthly wage         266,838 yen      +0.6
  -Regular pay         247,179 yen      +0.6
  -Overtime pay         19,659 yen      +0.6
 -Special payments     110,496 yen      -2.2
 Number of workers      (million)    (yr/yr % change)
 Overall                50.915 mln      +1.8
 -General employees     35.224 mln      +1.8
 -Part-time employees   15.690 mln      +1.5
    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 Daniel Leussink; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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