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--Japan Apr Average Wages +0.8% Y/Y, 9th Straight Rise
--Japan Apr Real Average Wages Unchanged Y/Y; Mar +0.7%
--Japan Apr Base Wages +1.2% Y/Y, 13th Straight Rise
--Japan Apr Overtime Pay +1.9% Y/Y, 6th Straight Rise
--Japan Apr Special Pay -9.8% Y/Y, 1st Drop in 9 Months
TOKYO (MNI) - The average wage growth in Japan slowed back to its trend
growth under 1% in April after a temporary jump in March, with real wages
slipping back to flat in the face of the rising cost of living, preliminary data
released Wednesday by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare showed.
The key points from the Monthly Labour Survey:
* Total monthly average cash earnings per regular employee in Japan rose
0.8% on year to Y277,272 in April, posting the ninth straight year-on-year rise
and sliding back to the recent median growth rate of +0.7%. It followed a 2.0%
jump in March caused by temporary factors, such as lump-sum allowances paid by
some firms and temporary bonuses based on high earnings in fiscal 2017 that
ended in March.
* The ministry left its long-held assessment unchanged, saying wages have
been increasing "moderately." Companies are generally cautious about raising
base wages amid uncertainty over global and domestic economic growth. Some
sectors are raising wages to help alleviate serious labor shortages.
* In real terms, average wages were unchanged on year in April after
marking the first year-on-year rise in four months in March, up 0.7%. The recent
weak trend was caused by the rising cost of living. The total CPI minus imputed
rents rose 0.8% on year in April, with the pace of increase decelerating from a
peak of +1.8% in February as fresh food prices eased after a surge late last
* Base wages, the key to a steady recovery in cash earnings, rose 1.2 % in
April from a year earlier, the 13th straight year-on-year rise after rising at
the same pace in March, which was the fastest pace of increase since +1.3% in
July 1997. Hourly base wages of regular employees working part time gained 1.4%
on year after +2.0% in the previous month while base wages for full-time workers
rose at a slower pace of 0.9% after rising 1.3% in March.
* Overtime pay rose 1.9% on year in April, the sixth straight y/y rise
after rising 2.2% in March. But overtime working hours continued to fall, down
0.9% for the fourth straight year-on-year drop after falling 0.9% the previous
month. Regular working hours fell 1.0% on year, the third consecutive y/y fall
after -1.5% in March.
* Bonuses and other special pay decreased 9.8% from a year before, marking
the first year-on-year drop in nine months after +13.7% in March. This category
tends to fluctuate widely.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-4670-5309; email: firstname.lastname@example.org