World Economy

Japanese May Seek Pay Hikes

Japanese May Seek Pay HikesJapanese May Seek Pay Hikes

Japan’s job market is the tightest it’s been in more than 40 years, giving leverage to labor unions pressing for bigger pay hikes at annual wage negotiations and raising prospects for higher consumer spending and inflation, Reuters reported. The employment data along with solid retail figures released on Tuesday were the latest in a string of upbeat numbers on Japan’s economy, the world’s third-largest, which has been humming along nicely in the past year. Persistently low inflation remains one of the few irritants for policymakers, though. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been urging companies to raise wages 3% at spring labor talks to spur consumption and lift inflation toward the Bank of Japan’s 2% target. “The economy has given us a tailwind heading into this year’s wage negotiations,” said Norishio Hashiguchi, head of wage negotiations at Zenroren, a union for workers at mid-sized firms. The jobs-to-applicants ratio rose to 1.59 in December from 1.56, the highest since January 1974, labor ministry data showed. That means there were nearly 1.6 jobs for every applicant.

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