Overtime Hours At Japanese Manufacturers Down Again

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Average per-worker overtime hours at Japanese manufacturers fell 42.6 percent in May from a year earlier, down for the 14th straight month amid the global recession, the government said Tuesday.

As a result, overtime hours, a barometer of Japanese economic activity, came to an average 8.8 at manufacturers with five or more workers, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said in a preliminary report.

But the pace of decrease slowed from April's 45.3 percent and March's record fall of 48.9 percent, in tandem with rebounding production at various manufacturers, the ministry said. Comparable figures on overtime hours have been compiled since 1990.

On all industry-basis, average per-worker wages paid in cash fell 2.9 percent to 267,395 yen in May, the 12th straight monthly drop, the ministry said.

Of the amount, 244,709 yen was paid in regular salary and allowances, down 1.4 percent, and 15,813 yen was for overtime work and extra allowances.

The number of regular workers fell 0.2 percent to 43,975,000, the first decrease in five years and two months. The ministry defines regular workers as those hired for more than one month.

"The recession undercut production and the number of people working at manufacturers was trimmed," a ministry official said.

The number of full-time workers fell 0.9 percent to 32,220,000, and that of part-time workers rose 1.6 percent to 11,755,000.

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