Taiwan's quarterly average real regular wage falls for 1st time in 6 years
Taipei, May 10 (CNA) The average real regular wage in Taiwan fell in the first quarter, marking the first year-on-year decline in six years, as consumer prices increased, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said Tuesday.
DGBAS data showed the average real regular wage for the January-March period was NT$41,670 (US$1,403), 0.1 percent lower than a year earlier.
It was the first time in six years that Taiwan reported a decline in the average real regular wage, after inflationary adjustments. The last time was in the first quarter of 2016, when the average real regular wage dropped 0.26 percent from a year earlier to NT$39,300.
In the first quarter of this year, the average nominal regular wage before inflationary adjustments was NT$44,216, up 2.71 percent from a year earlier, which was the highest growth since 2001.
Meanwhile, average monthly earnings, which comprise regular wages and non-regular wages such as overtime pay and bonuses, rose 3.04 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to NT$68,896, registering the highest quarterly growth in four years, the data indicated.
At a news conference, Deputy Director of the DGBAS Census Department Chen Hui-hsin (陳惠欣) said the increase in average nominal regular wage and average nominal monthly earnings indicated that many employers were paying their workers more amid improving operations and following the government's increase of the minimum wage.
However, growing inflationary pressure eroded the first-quarter growth of the average regular wage and monthly earnings, she said, noting that the former fell 0.1 percent from a year earlier, while the latter rose by only 0.22 percent.
Meanwhile, the consumer price index (CPI) grew 2.81 percent in the first quarter, higher than the 2 percent alert level set by the central bank.
For the month of March, the CPI rose 3.27 percent from a year earlier, the biggest year-on-year increase since September 2012, when it spiked 3.42 percent.
"Inflation did beat wage growth, which sent the average real regular wage lower in the first quarter," Chen told reporters.
Q1 employement statistics
The DGBAS also reported that the total number of employees in the industrial and service sectors fell by 4,000, or 0.05 percent, in the first quarter from a year earlier to about 8.156 million.
The number of employees in the service sector fell 0.19 percent from a year earlier, while the number in the industrial sector rose 0.15 percent, the DGBAS said.
In the arts, entertainment and leisure industry the number of employees dropped by 11,000 in the first quarter from a year earlier, while the number in the retail and wholesale industry fell by 9,000, the DGBAS said.
The medical care/social work industry and the manufacturing sector bucked the downturn, however, showing an increase in employees of 11,000 and 6,000, respectively, in the first quarter from a year earlier, the DGBAS said.
As of the end of March, the combined number of employees in the industrial and service sectors was 8.155 million, up by 10,000, or 0.13 percent, from the end of February, but down 8,000, or 0.09 percent, from a year earlier, according to the DGBAS.
Chen said that while domestic COVID-19 cases have been increasing sharply, the government has not tightened restrictions, which means that the local job market has not been significantly affected, as people are able to go about their lives normally.
(By Pan Tzu-yu and Frances Huang)