Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Working Wives Help Maintain Household Incomes
TOKYO (Nikkei)--A sharp rise in pay brought home by wives accounted for the bulk of the increase in household incomes in 2012, highlighting the expanding role women play in the nation's labor market.
According to a survey released Tuesday by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the average before-tax income for households with at least two people rose 1.6% on the year, excluding the impact of price fluctuations, to 518,506 yen a month. While the pay increase for main breadwinners -- usually husbands -- was limited to 0.2%, the income for wives surged 11% to a record 59,177 yen.
Labor statistics released the same day by the ministry show that the ranks of employed women, excluding those in executive positions, rose 90,000 from the previous year to 22.88 million. With many finding work in the medical and nursing-care sectors, women in both part- and full-time positions increased. Meanwhile, the number of employed men fell by 200,000 to 28.65 million.
Similarly, the number of men who are not part of the workforce rose 270,000 from the year before, compared with a 30,000 decline in the number of nonworking women -- a sign that more women are working to help supplement incomes while many men have retired or given up on finding jobs.
Yet the increase in household incomes has not been translated into a brisk rise in consumption. In households with at least two people, spending averaged 286,169 a month, up 1.1% on both nominal and real terms but smaller than the 1.6% increase in incomes -- suggesting that families remain reluctant to loosen their purse strings.
(The Nikkei, Feb. 20 morning edition)