April 5, 2016 / 12:06 AM / 4 years ago

Japan February real wages rise 0.4 percent year-on-year

Workers sweep a construction site in Tokyo, Japan, March 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese wages rose in February from a year earlier on an inflation-adjusted basis for the first time in four months, data showed on Tuesday, in a positive sign that consumer spending may pick up.

Wage rises are crucial to the government’s efforts to stoke demand and defeat deflation. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly urged companies to lift worker compensation, particularly base pay, so that households can increase spending.

Real wages, adjusted for inflation, in February rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier, the first rise since October, data from the labour ministry showed.

Nominal cash earnings in February rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier, also the first gain in four months. Regular pay, which determines base salaries, rose an annual 0.6 percent, the data showed.

Overtime pay rose an annual 0.4 percent, the data showed.

Special payments rose 25.7 percent in February from a year earlier. This was the biggest gain since May 2011, reflecting an increase in payments for commuting costs that companies subsidize, a labour ministry official said.

Compared to cash earnings and base pay, special payments are generally very small, so even a slight change in the yen amount can lead to big percentage changes, the official also said.

To view the tables, see the labour ministry's website at: here

Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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