Taipei, Dec. 14 (CNA) The year-on-year growth in average regular monthly wages in October returned to 2 percent, after a slower increase below that level in September, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) earlier this week.
Data compiled by the DGBAS showed regular monthly wages for October averaged NT$42,060 (US$1,392), up NT$831 or 2.02 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 1.72 percent increase in September, the slowest growth since May 2017 when regular wages grew 1.59 percent.
Market analysts said the latest average regular wage growth indicated the local job market remains stable at a time when labor demand was still solid despite unfavorable global trade issues.
However, more observation is required to determine how the local employment market develops in light of progress made in global trade disputes. On Friday, the United States and China agreed to a phase one trade deal after a long period of talks.
On a monthly basis, the average regular wage in October also rose NT$188 or 0.45 percent, the DGBAS data showed.
In the first 10 months of the year, regular monthly wages averaged NT$41,798, up NT$910 or 2.23 percent from a year earlier, while average monthly earned income was up NT$1,035 or 1.95 percent at NT$54,148.
Average monthly earned income includes regular wages plus bonuses, overtime pay and other irregular income not issued on a monthly basis.
After adjusting for inflation, real regular monthly wages were up 1.72 percent from a year earlier in the 10-month period, while real monthly earned income rose only 1.44 percent, the data showed.
Despite the wage gains, total working hours edged down. In the first 10 months of the year, average monthly working hours fell 0.6 hours or 0.36 percent to 167.8 hours while average overtime hours fell 0.3 hours or 3.7 percent to 7.8 hours, the DGBAS said.
Meanwhile, the DGBAS said the average number of people working during the 10 month period stood at 7.96 million, up 91,000 or 1.15 percent from a year earlier, the slowest growth since 2010 as the manufacturing sector slowed recruitment.
According to the DGBAS, the average number of people recruited by manufacturers rose only 12,000 from a year earlier, compared with an increase of 41,000 during the same period of 2017, and a rise of 37,000 in 2018.
Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨), deputy director of the DGBAS census department, said the slower increase in hiring by the manufacturing sector was the result of weaker demand from industries such as solar energy and machinery production.
In contrast, hiring in computer, optoelectronics and other electronic device industries remains solid as foreign buyers shifted their orders to Taiwanese makers in a bid to avoid being impacted by the Washington-Beijing trade disputes, Pan said.
In October, average monthly overtime hours in the manufacturing sector fell from a year earlier, the 13th consecutive month of year-on-year decline, according to the DGBAS.