The average monthly wage at companies in Japan stood at 281,862 yen in May, up 0.5 percent from a year earlier and the first rise in 25 months, the government said Monday.

The average pay includes overtime wages and one-off payments made for special reasons, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said in a preliminary report.

The report covers companies employing five or more people.

The ministry said the rise signals no end to the falling wage trend in Japan, as it was probably caused by a slowdown in the rise in the number of lower-paid part-time workers.

The ministry also attributed the increase to fewer moves by companies to get rid of middle-aged and older workers, whose wages are higher than the average.

The average total work hours came to 151.6 hours per person, up 2 percent from a year before for the first rise in two months.

Of the total work hours, 9.6 hours were overtime, up 5.5 percent from a year earlier and the 11th straight month of gain.

The average monthly overtime at manufacturing companies, a key indicator of the economy’s health, increased 10.3 percent to 13.9 hours for the 10th straight month of rise.

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