TOKYO, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Average monthly cash earnings for workers in Japanese companies with five or more employees dropped 0.2 percent on year in May, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said in a preliminary report on Wednesday.
May's decline marks the first year-on-year drop in three months with the nominal cash earnings per regular employee standing at 267,721 yen, the ministry said.
The previous month saw average wages rise in Japan by 1.6 percent in April and by a single percent in March.
Monthly earnings fell the most in the medical, healthcare & welfare sector in May, declining 4.1 percent and the construction, transport & postal activities, as well as the education and learning support sectors also suffered a drop in nominal average monthly cash earnings.
In electricity, gas, heat and water supply-related jobs, earnings climbed 8.3 percent in the recording month from a year earlier and the information and communications plus the manufacturing sectors also saw increases.
The ministry noted however that as overall base wages dropped, overtime pay in the recording month surged 10.3 percent on year in May following a 12.4 percent leap in April.
Overtime hours have been recovering steadily since October 2009, led by the automobile and electronics sectors, which has raised the level of overtime pay, with the total overtime hours worked for all industries rising 10.4 percent on year in May following a 11.9 percent increase in April, the monthly survey showed.
Notably, overtime hours worked in the manufacturing sector posted the sixth straight year-on-year rise in May, jumping by 46. 7 percent after rising 53.4 percent in April.
After rising 46.1 percent in April, bonuses and other special cash earnings and incentives plummeted 23.6 percent on year in May as employers continue to tighten their belts in a harsh economic and employment environment.