In Japan, April real wages fall the most in four months as inflation jumps

    TOKYO, June 7 (Reuters) - Japan's real wages posted the
largest drop in four months in April, the government said on
Tuesday, as a surge in inflation eclipsed a rise in nominal
wages, eroding workers' purchasing power.
    The report highlights the challenge policymakers face as
they seek to soften the blow to Japanese households from rises
in global energy and raw material prices that are widely pushing
up the cost of food and many other essentials.
    Inflation-adjusted real wages, a barometer of households'
purchasing power, slumped 1.2% in April from a year earlier, as
price rises outpaced a gain in nominal wages, labour ministry
data showed.
    The fall marked the first and biggest decline since a 1.3%
drop in December, the data showed.
    The consumer price index the ministry uses to calculate real
wages, which includes fresh food prices but excludes owners'
equivalent rent, rose 3.0% in April, its biggest jump since a
3.4% gain in October 2014.
    That outpaced nominal total cash earnings, which increased
1.7% in April, down from the previous month's upwardly revised
2.0% rise, the data showed.
    Overtime pay, a key indicator of strength in corporate
activity, rose 5.9% in April from the same period a year
earlier, its biggest gain in eight months. 
    Special payments, which include the discretionary seasonal
bonuses that firms tend to slash when they face headwinds, rose
7.2% in April, below March's 13.9% rise.
    The following table shows preliminary data for monthly
incomes and numbers of workers in April:

----------------------------------------------------------------
   Payments             (amount)                (yr/yr % change)
 Total cash earnings   283,475 yen ($2,170.23)      +1.7
 -Monthly wage         271,341 yen                  +1.5
  -Regular pay         251,417 yen                  +1.1
  -Overtime pay         19,924 yen                  +5.9
 -Special payments      12,134 yen                  +7.2
----------------------------------------------------------------
 Number of workers      (million)               (yr/yr % change)
 Overall                 51.133                     +0.5
 -General employees      35.399                     +0.4
 -Part-time employees    15.734                     +0.6
----------------------------------------------------------------

    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 = 130.6200 yen)
    
    

 (Reporting by Daniel Leussink
Editing by Tomasz Janowski)
 (([email protected]; Twitter:
@danielleussink;))

Keywords: JAPAN ECONOMY/WAGES (URGENT)

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