Japanese Workers’ Income Down For Ninth Straight Month

Japan's unemployment rate climbed to 3.7 per cent in June for the first increase in 10 months, the government said. EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

By Takehiko Kambayashi

TOKYO (DPA) — The income of Japanese workers' households dropped 6.6 per cent in June for the ninth consecutive month of decline despite reported pay raises at big companies, the government said Tuesday.

The average income stood at 710,375 yen (6,978 dollars), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

Wages in nominal terms had risen from March 2013 to February 2014, but the rate of price increase was higher than that of rising income.

The government also raised the national sales tax in April to 8 per cent from 5 per cent, the first hike in 17 years.

Wages were not raised at small- and medium-sized companies, particularly after the tax increase, a ministry official said.

Analysts argue that the government has not been able to solve the longstanding problem of unstable forms of employment, especially among women and young people.

The number of temporary and part-time workers jumped by 360,000 from a year earlier, to 19.4 million in June. Regular salaried jobs declined by 20,000 to 33.2 million, the ministry said in a separate report.

The proportion of such non-regular employees in the labour force hit a record high of 36.7 per cent in 2013 for the fifth year in a row, compared with 26 per cent in 2000, a government report showed.

The ministry also reported on Tuesday that Japan's jobless rate climbed to 3.7 per cent in June for the first increase in 10 months.

Manufacturers lost 70,000 jobs from a year earlier to 10.37 million and agriculture and forest industries' payrolls also shrank by 70,000 employees to 2.3 million, it said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare reported that the availability of jobs – measured as the ratio of job offers per job seeker – inched up to 1.1 in June from the previous month.