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Japan April real wages fall for fourth straight month

TOKYO, June 7 (Reuters) - Japan's inflation-adjusted real wages fell in April from a year earlier, down for a fourth consecutive month in a sign that consumer spending could weaken. Real wages fell 1.1% in April year-on-year, labour ministry data showed on Friday. That followed an upwardly revised 1.9% annual decline in March. Monthly wage data showed nominal total cash earnings in April fell an annual 0.1%, also down for a fourth consecutive month. Revelations earlier this year that labour ministry officials used faulty polling methods that caused revisions cast doubts on wage data issued by the ministry from 2004 to 2017. Regular pay, which accounts for the bulk of monthly wages, dropped an annual 0.1% in April. One-off special payments fell 3.2% in the year to April, after an upwardly revised 9.4% annual decline in the previous month. Overtime pay declined 1.1% in April from a year earlier, reflecting efforts to curb overtime in line with the government's campaign to limit long working hours. The labour ministry said in January it used faulty polling methods in compiling monthly wage data - which covers about 33,000 firms - and had failed to accurately depict the actual strength of wage growth. The error has made it harder to gauge the trend for wages. The following table shows preliminary data for monthly incomes and numbers of workers in April: ---------------------------------------------------------------- Payments (amount) (yr/yr % change) Total cash earnings 277,261 yen -0.1 -Monthly wage 267,437 yen -0.1 -Regular pay 246,796 yen +0.1 -Overtime pay 20,641 yen -1.1 -Special payments 9,824 yen -3.2 ---------------------------------------------------------------- Number of workers (million) (yr/yr % change) Overall 50.601 mln +1.9 -General employees 34.937 mln +1.0 -Part-time employees 15.663 mln +3.8 ---------------------------------------------------------------- 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 labour ministry's website at: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/database/db-l/index.html (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)