Wages fell record 3.3% last year

Monthly wages took their largest drop ever — 3.3 percent — in fiscal 2009 ended in March as the global financial crisis and recession took their toll, the labor ministry said Monday.

Wages came to ¥315,311 on average, down for a third consecutive year and the sharpest year-on-year drop since fiscal 1991, when the survey’s current statistical methods were adopted.

The drop emerged in the form of declining semiannual bonuses and overtime pay as companies struggled to cope with the weak economy, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

Bonuses and other nonbasic pay tumbled 10.8 percent to ¥53,046 per month, while nonscheduled remuneration, including overtime, slumped 7.9 percent to ¥16,987. Basic salaries fell 1.1 percent to ¥245,278.

Overtime hours came to an average of 9.4 hours per month in the reporting year, down 8.5 percent from a year earlier.