Average regular wage rises 2.22% in August; growth slowed

According to the data, the average regular wage for August stood at NT$42,135 (US$1,333), up NT$915, or 2.22 percent from a year earlier. (AP)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The average regular wage in Taiwan rose 2.22 percent from a year earlier in August, after a revised 2.49 percent year-on-year increase in July, indicating the local labor market has seen some impact from slower economic growth, data released by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics showed Tuesday.

According to the data, the average regular wage for August stood at NT$42,135 (US$1,333), up NT$915, or 2.22 percent from a year earlier. On a month-on-month basis, the July average regular wage also rose 0.43 percent, the data indicated.

Average earned income, which includes regular salary plus bonuses, overtime pay and other irregular income, also rose NT$1,326, or 2.67 percent, from a year earlier to NT$51,040 in August, the DGBAS said.

In the first eight months of this year, the average regular wage stood at NT$41,760, up 2.32 percent from a year earlier, while the average earned income also grew 1.94 percent to NT$55,706.

However, after inflationary adjustments, the real average regular wage rose only 1.78 percent from a year earlier in the eight-month period, and the real average earned income rose only 1.40 percent, the data showed.

Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨), deputy director of the DGBAS census department, told reporters that while the average regular wage in August was on an uptrend, indicating a stable job market in Taiwan, growth slowed at a time of a slower economy.

In addition, the 1.94 percent year-on-year growth in average earned income for the eight months was the lowest increase in about three years, clearly a result of the weakening economy, Pan said.

The average number of overtime hours for August fell 0.4 hours or 4.94 percent from a year earlier to 7.7 hours, marking the 11th consecutive month of year-on-year decline, providing further evidence of the slowing economy at a time when trade friction between the United States and China affected global demand and hurt the export-oriented Taiwan economy.

Pan said the weaker economy slowed down manufacturing activity so the need for overtime working hours in the sector was reduced, accordingly.

The DGBAS has forecast Taiwan’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth will be 2.46 percent in 2019, compared with a 2.63 percent increase in 2018 as Taiwanese exporters feel the impact from the global trade war.

In August, the average number of working hours also fell 6.4 hours, or 3.52 percent, from a year earlier to 175.2 hours, the DGBAS said.

In the first eight months of the year, the average number of overtime hours fell 3.70 percent from a year earlier to 7.8 hours and the average number of working hours per month also fell 0.59 percent to 167.4 hours, the DGBAS added.

By Pan Tzu-yu and Frances Huang