Spending by Japan’s wage-earning households rose a real 5.6 percent in May from a year earlier, the first time in 14 years that such spending has shown an increase of more than 5 percent over two straight months, the government said Tuesday.
The average monthly spending of salaried workers’ households came to 322,716 yen, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications said in a preliminary report.
“Japan’s spending is believed to be on a track to recovery,” though there were special factors that boosted the figure, such as a spate of national holidays at the beginning of the reporting month, a ministry official said.
He was referring to the fact that this year’s combination of holidays and weekends made it possible for people to have longer work leaves than usual.
The increase in May, after adjustment for price fluctuations, followed a 7.2 percent jump in the previous month, which itself was the sharpest increase since October 1982.
The ministry said expenditures on vehicles and communications surged 22.7 percent as more consumers bought luxury cars.
Spending on items related to entertainment and culture rose 15.7 percent as sales of products such as flat-screen TVs and computers remained strong, the ministry said.
Household and food expenses were among other major factors that helped push spending up.
In contrast, the amount spent on maintaining and remodeling homes fell 10.9 percent in real terms.
The average monthly income increased 4.3 percent in real terms to 445,993 yen.