The average Japanese husband’s monthly allowance slumped to the lowest level since 1982 at the start of the financial year as workers await the dividends promised by “Abenomics.”
Salarymen’s spending money, typically set by wives managing family budgets, was ¥38,457, down 3 percent from last year and less than half the 1990 peak, according to Shinsei Bank Ltd., a Tokyo-based lender whose data go back to 1979. The survey of 2,000 people was done April 20 and 22 via the Internet, the report published Friday showed.
With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledging to revive the world’s third-largest economy through unprecedented monetary expansion, fiscal stimulus and business deregulation, salarymen allotted more of their budget to going out drinking. They went out an average 2.2 times a month, spending ¥3,474 each time, up 21 percent from last year, the Shinsei report showed.
“(A) husband’s allowance is the most lagging indicator of Japan’s economy, while female spending is the first to increase,” said Hiroshi Miyazaki, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in Tokyo, who says his own ration has been unchanged for a while. “Japanese salarymen don’t have to be pessimistic. Their pocket money should gradually increase to reflect Japan’s recovery.”
In a sign that the benefits of a growing economy and rising company profits aren’t yet flowing through to workers, salaries were unchanged in May from a year earlier, the labor ministry said Tuesday. The average monthly wage for a Japanese worker was ¥314,127 last year, according to the ministry.
The government will create a panel to encourage companies to raise wages, Yuzuru Takeuchi, parliamentary secretary for finance, said last month. Wages fell or were unchanged in 11 of 12 months through May even as Japanese companies’ cash stockpiles rose to a record, exceeding the size of Italy’s economy, Bank of Japan data for the first quarter showed last month.
Abe’s three-pronged strategy of ending deflation and stoking growth has helped household’s net worth by propelling gains in the country’s stock market. Household assets climbed even as salaries dropped, rising 4.7 percent to ¥1.207 quadrillion in the first three months of this year, the highest since 2007, before the global financial crisis.