Japan Nov real wages fall for 3rd month as inflation hits stagnant nominal pay

TOKYO, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Japan's real wages fell in November for a third month as inflation outstripped stagnant nominal wages, a government data showed.

The data came days after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called on business lobbies and unions to work together to raise workers' wages, to achieve a cycle of economic growth and wealth distribution he had pledged to win the October general election. read more

Inflation-adjusted real wages, a key measure of households' purchasing power, slipped 1.6% in November from a year earlier, the labour ministry said on Friday.

The drop was faster than a 0.7% fall in October and marked the biggest decline since December 2020.

Japan's consumer inflation has been accelerating on rising energy and food prices. The core consumer price index (CPI), a measure closely watched by the Bank of Japan, rose in November at the fastest pace in nearly two years. read more

The CPI figure the labour ministry uses to calculate real wages - which sets a different base year, includes fresh food prices but excludes owners' equivalent rent - gained 1.7% in November, the data showed.

Meanwhile, nominal total cash earnings stalled in November, with a 0.0% change from a year earlier, which snapped an eight-month growth streak and followed a 0.2% gain in October, according to the data.

The slowdown in nominal wages was due to the increasing share of part-time workers who receive lower pay, a health ministry official said. Part-timers accounted for 31.87% of all workers in November, the highest rate since February 2019, he said.

Regular pay or base salary - the majority component of total cash earnings that determines a wage trend - was up 0.3% in November, after a 0.2% drop in October.

Overtime pay, a barometer of corporate activity's strength, rose 2.7% year-on-year in November, rising for the eighth straight month, following an upwardly revised 2.3% advance in the previous month.

Special payments, which mainly consist of volatile one-off bonuses, fell 7.9% in November from a year earlier, the data showed.

The following table shows preliminary data for monthly incomes and numbers of workers in November:


Payments (amount) (yr/yr % change)

Total cash earnings 280,398 yen($2,422.44) 0.0

-Monthly wage 264,632 yen +0.5

-Regular pay 246,063 yen +0.3

-Overtime pay 18,569 yen +2.7

-Special payments 15,766 yen -7.9


Number of workers (million) (yr/yr % change)

Overall 52.219 mln +1.2

-General employees 35.579 mln +0.6

-Part-time employees 16.641 mln +2.3


The ministry defines "workers" as 1) those who were employed for more than one month at a company that employed more than five people, or 2) those who were employed on a daily basis or had less than a one-month contract but had worked more than 18 days during the two months before the survey was conducted, at a company that employs more than five people.

To view the full tables, see the labour ministry's website at: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/database/db-l/index.html

($1 = 115.7500 yen)

Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Kim Coghill

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