Japan Wage and Hours Worked

Regular wages in Japan rose by 0.4% year on year in January 2017, slightly up from 0.3% in December 2016.

Published monthly by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Updated to the month of January 2017 (published on March 23rd, 2017).

Recent data trend

As per the new revised series (base year 2015=100), basic and overtime wage, otherwise known as regular wages, rose by 0.4% year on year (YoY) in January 2017.

We observe a slow but consistent acceleration in the basic and overtime wage growth in the past 6 months and this points to a possibility that the wage growth acceleration may be finally taking place, albeit at a slow pace. A sustained acceleration in the wage inflation is a critical factor for Japan to attain its reflation goal.

The acceleration in the nominal wage growth was offset by rise in consumer inflation though. This reflects in the real wage growth which remained stagnant hovering around zero growth. Real wage in fact fell by 0.1% in January 2017. Given the prevalent labor shortage situation in Japan, there is an economic force encouraging wages to rise. The robust corporate profit growth (up 16.9% YoY during the Oct-December 2016 quarter) also suggests that employers have a capacity to raise wages if they choose to.

Brief overview of “Wage and Hours worked”

Official name of the statistics is “Monthly Labor Survey”, but we prefer to call it “Wage and Hours worked” to distinguish the survey from “Labor Force Survey” which is the source of the official unemployment rate in Japan. “Wage and Hours worked” surveys enterprises with a work force larger or equal to 5 persons. It also does not include government and municipal officials. For example, in 2012, “Wage and Hours worked” survey covered 45.8 million workers in Japan, while “Labor Force Survey” covered 62.7 million workers. YoY% wage growth rate shows irregularity, as the months of bi-annual bonus payment day shift between months depending on the year. 3 or 6-month average YoY% is often used to overcome this problem. Wages in Japan has been steadily falling in Japan since 1998. Between 1997 and 2012, wages has fallen by 12.5%, or by 0.9% per year on average.

For more information, visit the official government page

"Part time hourly wage", "Temp hourly wage" are statistics published by JOBS Research Center (JBRC), a research center established within Recruit Jobs Co., Ltd. As of July 17, 2015, the original publication are published only in Japanese. Below are a link to their web site (available only in Japanese). http://jbrc.recruitjobs.co.jp/

Wage levels of Full-time and Part-time workers

Temp and part time workers' hourly wage (published by Recruit Jobs)

Note: Part time hourly wage for January 2017 was published by Recruit Jobs Co.,Ltd on February 20, 2017. Temporary hourly wage for January 2017 was published on February 15, 2017. See "Brief overview of wage and hours worked" above for more details.

Source: MHLW, JMA.

The Next Release Date:April 7th,2017 (Preliminary February data)

                                        April 20th, 2017 (Revised February data)


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