Bonuses post 1st rise in 4 years

The average bonus for salaried workers this summer rose 1.1 percent from a year ago to 367,178 yen ($4,570), the first increase in four years, a labor ministry report said Monday.

Even though it may reflect improved performance among businesses, the slight upturn followed a sharp decline of 9.7 percent in summer 2009, meaning the wage situation remained tough.

The ministry’s monthly labor survey covered 33,000 businesses nationwide that employed five or more regular workers, including part-timers.

By industry, the largest earner was electricity, gas and water utilities, at 796,412 yen, down 3.2 percent year on year. The smallest was 72,670 yen for eating and drinking services. (No comparable figure is available for 2009 due to category changes).

The manufacturing sector, which employs a huge number of workers, posted a 3.9-percent rise to 452,212 yen. Among wholesalers and retailers, the gain came to 6.8 percent for a payout of 291,096 yen.

The largest drop was marked by the medical and welfare sector, down 5.6 percent to 280,224 yen.