• Kyodo News

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Average monthly overtime hours worked per capita among manufacturers declined 18.7 percent in fiscal 2008 from the previous year, down for the first time in seven years and posting the largest drop in 16 years, the government said Monday.

Average monthly overtime hours worked, a key gauge of economic outlook, came to 13.4 hours for manufacturers in the year ended March 31, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

Average monthly overtime hours shrank from the previous year due to the economic downturn, a ministry official said.

Average monthly wages at companies in all sectors slipped 1.1 percent to ¥328,990 for the second consecutive yearly fall, due mainly to a sharp drop in nonregular wages such as overtime pay.

Average monthly regular pay, such as basic salary, stood at ¥249,976, down 0.4 percent.

Inflation-adjusted real average monthly wages dropped 2.3 percent for the third straight year of decline, the ministry said.

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