Real wages up for 1st time in 5 years in 2016

February 8, 201710:27 am360 views

Workers in Japan saw their real wages increase for the first time in five years in 2016, a government report revealed Monday.

According to the preliminary report by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the price-adjusted per-worker real wage rose 0.7 percent from the previous year.

The real wage posted the sharpest growth since 2010, when it rose 1.3 percent, chiefly thanks to rises in nominal salaries, the ministry said, adding that drops in consumer prices also contributed to the real wage upturn.

The labor survey report showed that the average total amount of cash paid monthly to workers, including regular salaries, overtime pay and bonuses, at business footholds each with five or more employees increased 0.5 percent from 2015 to ¥315,372, extending its rising steak to a third year.

“The monthly wage rise can largely be attributed to pay-scale hikes by a number of companies through shunto annual wage negotiations with labor unions last spring,” said an official at the ministry’s employment, wage and labor welfare statistics office.

Meanwhile, the country’s core consumer price index, excluding volatile fresh food prices, dropped 0.3 percent from the previous year in 2016, according to a report by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry last month. Including prices of perishables, the overall CPI fell 0.1 percent.

Elaborating on the monthly wage figure for 2016, the latest labor survey report said that regular wages, or base pay, rose 0.2 percent to ¥240,267, and bonuses and other types of special pay jumped 2.0 percent to ¥55,637. On the other hand, nonscheduled wages, chiefly overtime pay, fell 0.6 percent to ¥19,468.

The survey also found that full-time employees enjoyed an overall monthly pay rise of 0.8 percent to ¥411,788 on average, up for the fourth straight year. But part-time workers’ wages fell 0.1 percent to ¥97,670. This suggests that their total work hours declined with more housewives taking shorter-hour jobs.

In December alone, when many companies make biannual bonus payments, the per-worker real wage dropped 0.4 percent from a year earlier, snapping an 11-month winning streak. Although nominal pay grew 0.1 percent to ¥544,823, rising for the third consecutive month, the month’s inflation rate was higher, a ministry official said.

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