Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Wages For Full-Time Workers Showing Signs Of Recovery
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Wages in Japan appear to have turned a corner, with the latest government data showing that pay for full-time employees rose in January, driven by gains in the services, health and financial sectors.
Total pay received by full-time workers climbed 1.3% on the year in January, according to preliminary figures released Tuesday by the Labor Ministry. The report covers companies with five or more employees.
Average monthly pay for all workers, including part-timers, was up 0.7% to 271,450 yen, the first increase in nine months. This figure includes overtime pay and bonuses. Special bonuses surged 23.3% because some firms paid their winter bonuses late.
The pay increase for full-time workers is the sharpest since 1.4% in May 2011. Although bonus payments accounted for the bulk of the rise, regular pay climbed 0.3%.
"Consumption-related companies have been faring well, partly because the stock market upturn has lifted sales of some high-priced products, so they raised the pay level that was low compared with manufacturers," said Hidenobu Tokuda, economist at the Mizuho Research Institute. Pay in the services sector, including part-timers, jumped 4.6%.
Compensation in the medical and welfare sector rose 2.4%. A chronic personnel shortage at nursing care facilities prompted firms to offer higher pay to attract workers.
Pay in the financial and insurance sector increased 1.7%, driven by brisk sales of financial products and strong demand for other services on the back of the stock market upswing.
Meanwhile, manufacturers lowered compensation by 0.7% in January. But overtime pay increased by 0.4% from the previous month, an indication that production activity is starting to recover.
(The Nikkei, March 6 morning edition)