Japan September real wages rise as consumer prices sink

November 6, 2016 8:42 PM EST

A female job seeker walks as she attends a job fair held for fresh graduates in Tokyo, Japan, March 20, 2016. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo


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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's real wages rose for the eighth consecutive month in September, data showed on Monday, helped by falling prices as the economy shows scant sign of generating inflation.

Real wages, which are adjusted for moves in consumer prices, rose 0.9 percent in September from a year earlier, faster than a revised 0.6 percent gain in the previous month.

Wage earners' nominal cash earnings rose 0.2 percent year-on-year in September. Revised data showed that in the previous month nominal wages were unchanged from a year earlier.

Japanese policymakers originally hoped aggressive monetary easing and fiscal spending would spur economic growth, which would in turn push up real wages and spark inflation.

Instead, consumer prices have slumped due to lacklustre growth, which is pushing up real wages but unlikely to benefit the economy.

Separate data last month showed core consumer prices fell for a seventh straight month and household spending slumped in September, tell-tale signs the government's attempt to reflate the economy is not working.

Special payments, such as bonuses, fell 2.9 percent in September from a year earlier, versus a revised 0.5 percent annual decline in August, data on Monday showed.

Special payments are generally small, so even a slight change in the amount can cause big percentage changes.

Regular pay, which determines base salaries, increased an annual 0.4 percent. Overtime pay - a barometer of strength in corporate activity - fell 1.3 percent in September from a year ago.

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.

To view the full tables, see the labor ministry's website at: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/database/db-l/index.html

(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing Sam Holmes)



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