Real wages rise in March at sharpest rate in five years

May 11, 201610:47 am251 views

Real wages rose at the fastest pace in more than five years in March, creating hopes for greater consumer spending, government data showed Monday.

Average inflation-adjusted wages gained 1.4 percent from a year earlier for the second consecutive month of growth, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said, citing preliminary figures.

Nominal wages increased 1.4 percent to ¥278,501, the second straight monthly gain and the sharpest rise in 20 months.

A rise in real wages means salaries grow faster than prices.

Base salaries rose 0.4 percent to ¥240,446 amid a shortage of labor especially in the services sector, while overtime pay dropped 0.2 percent to ¥19,739. Bonuses and other special payments were up 19.8 percent, to ¥18,316.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pressing companies to spend more on salaries and investment to revitalize the stagnant economy.

“The base salary has been increasing steadily,” a ministry official said, adding that special payments grew noticeably in March, the end of fiscal 2015.

Although the growth was significant, it remains unclear whether gains will be reflected in coming months, too, the official said.

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