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Japan real wages drop for 7th straight month in July

TOKYO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Real wages in Japan adjusted for inflation fell for a seventh month in July, adding to worries whether consumer spending can be sustained while the economy wrestles with slower global growth. Real wages slumped 0.9% in July from a year earlier, labour ministry data showed on Friday, after a 0.5% annual decline in June. Monthly wage data showed nominal total cash earnings dropped 0.3% in July, falling again after rising for the first time since last December the previous month. Regular pay, which accounts for the bulk of monthly wages, gained 0.6% to rise for the first time since December. One-off special payments shed 2.2% in July from a year earlier, after a 1.1% gain in June. Overtime pay was 0.6% higher in July from a year earlier, rebounding after slipping 1.0% in June. Revelations this year that labour ministry officials used faulty polling methods, which forced revisions, cast doubt on the accuracy of the ministry's wage data from 2004 to 2017. The mistake has made it more difficult to grasp the actual strength of wage growth. Japan is planning to raise its sales tax to 10% from 8% next month. The last sales tax rise in April 2014 caused consumer sentiment to sour, leading to an economic downturn. Solid domestic consumption and capital spending have helped offset the drag on the world's third-largest economy from an eight-month export slump this year. The following table shows preliminary data for monthly incomes and numbers of workers in July: ---------------------------------------------------------------- Payments (amount) (yr/yr % change) Total cash earnings 377,334 yen -0.3 -Monthly wage 266,838 yen +0.6 -Regular pay 247,179 yen +0.6 -Overtime pay 19,659 yen +0.6 -Special payments 110,496 yen -2.2 ---------------------------------------------------------------- Number of workers (million) (yr/yr % change) Overall 50.915 mln +1.8 -General employees 35.224 mln +1.8 -Part-time employees 15.690 mln +1.5 ---------------------------------------------------------------- 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 Daniel Leussink; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)