Consumer confidence dipped in March, registering the first decline in three months as households worried about slow wage hikes, the government said Monday.
The index of confidence among households with two or more people came to an unadjusted 47.9 for March, down 1.9 points from February, the Cabinet Office said in its monthly report.
“While bonuses are increasing in line with economic recovery, we have yet to see clear evidence of hikes in monthly wages,” an official at the Cabinet Office said.
The index hit an all-time high of 49.8 in February.
A reading below 50 indicates that pessimists outnumber optimists. Consumer spending accounts for more than half of Japan’s gross domestic product.
According to the March survey, the index of wages stood at 43.5, down 2.7 points from the previous month. The index of employment conditions slipped 2.0 points to 52.9 and that of living conditions fell 1.6 points to 45.1.
In a seasonally adjusted quarterly survey, however, consumer confidence rose 0.3 point to 48.2 in March from December.
The March index hit the highest level of the current economic recovery, the official said.
The government said consumer sentiment is “improving,” leaving its assessment unchanged for the third consecutive month.