TOKYO: Japan's real wages rose for the second consecutive month in March, the government said on Friday, in a sign economic conditions recovered from the heavy blow they took from the coronavirus pandemic last year.
The health crisis continues to hobble the world's third-largest economy, with the government set to discuss extending a state of emergency rolled out in Tokyo and some other areas in response to a resurgence of infections on Friday.
Inflation-adjusted real wages, a key measure of households' purchasing power, rose 0.5per cent in March compared with the same month a year earlier, the labour ministry said on Friday.
It was the second straight month inflation-adjusted real wages rose, in part due to a drop in consumer price inflation, after a downwardly revised 0.1per cent gain in February.
Nominal total cash earnings also rose, growing 0.2per cent in March from a year earlier, following a downwardly revised 0.4per cent fall in February.
Regular pay - or base salary, which makes up most of total cash earnings and determines a wage trend - rose for the third consecutive month, growing 0.8per cent after a downwardly revised 0.2per cent rise the previous month, according to the data.
Overtime pay, a key indicator of strength in corporate activity, declined 6.2per cent in March compared to the same month a year earlier, falling for the 19th straight month.
Special payments, which include winter bonuses, dropped 0.3per cent in March after a 2.8per cent rise in February.
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
(US$1 = 109.1200 yen)
(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Hugh Lawson)