Japan's September real wages fall for seventh straight month as COVID-19 weighs

FILE PHOTO: A worker cycles near a factory at the Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki, Japan February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s inflation-adjusted real wages fell for the seventh straight month in September as the coronavirus impact on firms persisted, government data showed on Friday.

The economy has recovered from a deep slump caused by the pandemic but the effects of the crisis are still being felt, and any recovery may be moderate.

Real wages, a key barometer of households’ purchasing power, declined 1.1% in September from a year earlier after a 1.4% drop in August, data by the labour ministry showed.

Wage earners’ nominal total cash earnings slipped 0.9% to 269,503 yen (£1,979) in September from a year earlier, down for a sixth consecutive month.

The coronavirus crisis prompted companies to cut overtime hours. Overtime pay, a key gauge of strength in corporate activity, declined 12.0% in the year to September, falling for a 13th straight month.

Regular pay - or base salary, which makes up most of total cash earnings - rose 0.2% in September, rebounding from a 0.3% fall in August.

Special payments, which predominantly consist of one-off bonuses, fell 8.9% in September from a year earlier, the data showed.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Hugh Lawson