BERLIN (Reuters) - Real wages in Germany rose by a record 3.8% year-on-year in the first three months of 2024, the statistics office reported on Wednesday, raising hopes for a much-needed boost to consumer spending as Europe's largest economy battles sluggish growth.

The increase was the fourth consecutive quarterly rise in real wages and the strongest jump since the office began recording the data in 2008.

Nominal wages rose in the first quarter by 6.4%, the second-highest increase on record. With inflation of 2.5% in that same period, consumer prices ate less into workers' purchasing power.

The data marks a changing trend for Germans who saw their wages decline across the board in real terms from late 2021 until the first quarter of 2023.

"The recovery in the purchasing power of the broad mass of people should also be reflected in an increasing acceleration in consumer demand in the coming months," said Sebastian Dullien, a senior economist at the IMK institute.

"Consumption could therefore become an important pillar of the economic recovery," he added.

Consumer sentiment recovered for a fourth month in a row heading into June, boosted by higher wage expectations and a brightening economic outlook. But the GfK institute warned that consumers were still holding off on larger purchases due to persistent uncertainty.

(Reporting by Rene Wagner and Rachel More; Editing by Madeline Chambers)