TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s April inflation-adjusted real wages fell at their fastest pace since December, government data showed on Tuesday, fanning fears about the outlook for consumer sentiment after the economy took a hit from the new coronavirus outbreak.
The world’s third-largest economy slipped into recession – marked by two quarters of negative growth – in the March quarter after the pandemic hurt demand at home and abroad.
Real wages, a gauge of household purchasing power, fell 0.7% in April from a year earlier, labour ministry data showed, dropping for the second straight month.
The monthly wage data showed nominal total cash earnings dropped 0.6% in the year to April, seeing their largest fall since July last year.
One-off special payments advanced 10.6% in April after an upwardly revised 0.5% gain in March. Regular pay – or base salary, which makes up most of total cash earnings – was flat, the data showed.
Overtime pay, a barometer of strength in corporate activity, slumped 12.2% in April from a year earlier, down for an eight straight month.
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.
(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Hugh Lawson)