Weaker economy sends workers’ incomes lower in June: DGBAS

In June, average overtime hours fell 0.3 hours, or 3.66 percent, from a year earlier to 7.9 hours, while total working hours dropped 5.9 hours, or 3.56 percent, from a year earlier to 159.6, DGBAS figures showed. (AP)
In June, average overtime hours fell 0.3 hours, or 3.66 percent, from a year earlier to 7.9 hours, while total working hours dropped 5.9 hours, or 3.56 percent, from a year earlier to 159.6, DGBAS figures showed. (AP)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The average monthly earnings of Taiwanese workers slid in June as Taiwan’s export-oriented economy was hurt by weaker global demand resulting from trade friction between the United States and China, Taiwan’s statistics bureau reported Monday.

Average monthly earnings, which includes regular salary plus bonuses, overtime pay and other irregular income, fell 0.44 percent in June from a year earlier to NT$48,286 (US$1,538), according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

Average regular salary, however, was up 2.38 percent year-on-year to NT$41,782 in June, suggesting that the fall in total earnings was due to employers cutting bonuses or reducing overtime hours, said Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨), deputy director of the DGBAS’ census department.

In June, average overtime hours fell 0.3 hours, or 3.66 percent, from a year earlier to 7.9 hours, while total working hours dropped 5.9 hours, or 3.56 percent, from a year earlier to 159.6, DGBAS figures showed.

The DGBAS forecast that Taiwan’s gross domestic product (GDP) would grow 2.19 percent in 2019, down 0.08 percentage points from its estimate in February.

That would fall well shy of Taiwan’s 2.63 percent growth in 2018, largely due to the unfavorable trade picture that has squeezed global demand.

In the first half of 2019, average regular salary was up 2.34 percent from a year earlier to NT$43,859, and rose 1.75 percent in real terms after being adjusted for inflation, the DGBAS said.

Average monthly earnings for the six-month period totaled NT$56,870, up 1.61 percent from a year earlier, but they were up only 1.04 percent after taking inflation into account.

The 1.61 year-on-year increase in average earnings was the smallest in the three years, further evidence of a slowing economy, according to the DGBAS.

Average overtime hours in the manufacturing sector hit a 10-year-low of 14 hours in the first half, another indicator of weaker demand for manufactured goods, Pan said.

By Pan Tzu-yu and Frances Huang