Workers are seen at the construction site in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS file

Wages fall for a fifth straight month in Japan


Inflation-adjusted real wages in Japan fell in May from a year earlier, a fifth straight month of decline that raises worries about the strength of consumer spending.

Real wages fell 1.0% in May, labor ministry data showed on Tuesday, after a downwardly revised 1.4% annual decline in April.

Monthly wage data showed nominal total cash earnings in May slipped an annual 0.2% after a revised 0.3% fall in April.

Regular pay, which accounts for the bulk of monthly wages, fell an annual 0.6% in May, the fifth straight month of decline.

One-off special payments climbed 2.5% in May from a year earlier, recovering from a revised 5.3% annual decline in the previous month.

Overtime pay also grew 0.8% in May from a year earlier, after dropping a revised 1.9% in April.

Revelations this year that labor ministry officials used faulty polling methods which forced revisions cast doubt on wage data issued by the ministry from 2004 to 2017.

The ministry said in January it used faulty polling methods in compiling monthly wage data - which covers about 33,000 firms - and had failed to accurately depict the actual strength of wage growth.

The error has made it harder to gauge the trend for wages.

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

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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That's Abenomics for you. Falling wages, limited labor rights plus tax hike for the taxpayers, rising business revenue for the rich.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This article follows the article a few days ago reporting on the salaries of politicians, it would have been beneficial if the two articles were part of comparison article, showing how the Japanese citizens are being laughed at by those elite politicians. But not to worry , there will be another consumption tax increase of 2% coming shortly. I find reading the Japanese news daily interesting , in one week we have seen , consumer spending up, salaries down, politicians salaries exposed , a neighbor spat between Japanese and South Korean politicians that has been running since WWII , no consideration for the economic damage to businesses and the people who work for those businesses, how much the Japanese politicians have allocated in the budget to support a dying industry that supports less than 300 people, which happens to be Abe's district. The Japanese news, just like the news from the US and the UK and Europe is like a comedy of errors, some hilarious, some downright scary and some embarrassing. Thank goodness we have so many inept politicians, that allows reporters worldwide to give us our daily dose of truth, of how we, the public are being taken for a ride

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Wages falling yet it's a tight job market

5 ( +5 / -0 )

That's Abenomics for you. 

That's corporate greed for you. Abenomics was about stimulus from the govt and central bank and reforms from the govt. Wages are decided in corporate boardrooms by high-paid executives. Blame them.

 Thank goodness we have so many inept politicians....

Once again, politicians don't decide private-sector wages. Let's focus on the people who are willfully engaging in wage-suppression policies.

Wages falling yet it's a tight job market

the supply and demand dynamic doesn't mean much when corporate greed is allowed to distort the market .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Falling wages and rising inflation.. seems like the best time to start a trade war with South Korea.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Now that I don’t buy new clothes much, gas my own car and change the oil etc.

I wonder if I am part of the problem?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

News on July 8 show machinery orders are down, wages are now down - just a guess the Japanese economy is not going well, its no wonder Japan fears American tariffs placed on Japanese items.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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