COST OF LIVING/Inflation drives Jan-May real wages down for 1st time in 6 years

07/11/2022 09:45 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, July 11 (CNA) Real average base salaries in Taiwan saw a year-over-year decline for the first time since 2016 between January and May, driven in large part by soaring consumer prices, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said Monday.

Despite average salaries in Taiwan for January-May increasing 2.83 percent in nominal terms to reach NT$44,252 (US$1,483), these gains were eroded by a 3.04 percent increase in the consumer price index (CPI) over the same period, Deputy Director of the DGBAS Census Department Chen Hui-hsin (陳惠欣) told a press conference.

Meanwhile, the overall average monthly earnings -- comprising regular wages and non-regular wages such as overtime pay and bonuses -- rose 3.63 percent to NT$62,736 in nominal terms, according to the DGBAS.

The DGBAS also reported that the total number of employees in the industrial and service sectors fell by 8,000 between April and May to reach 8.142 million, as domestic demand-orientated industries began to feel the full force of COVID-19-triggered economic headwinds, Chen said.

The number of employees in the accommodation and catering sector decreased by 9,000 between April and May, while the sector's average nominal regular wage dipped by 1.52 percent month-over-month.

Employment figures for the wholesale and retail sector also experienced a month-over-month decline, with 5,000 workers leaving the sector, and average nominal regular wages dipping by 7.1 percent.

However, the manufacturing sector continued to perform solidly, adding 6,000 workers between April and May, according to Chen.

As for the changes in the labor market in the past year, Chen said that due to Taiwan's nationwide Level-3 COVID-19 alert in May and June last year, the number of employees who were employed dropped by 150,000 during the two months.

However, as the epidemic slowed down, the cumulative number of employees rose by 150,000 from July to December 2021. As a result, the level of employment at the end of last year had roughly returned to the level in April last year, according to Chen.

Chen pointed out that the current number of employees is still a little less than the 8.17 million people employed in April last year due to seasonal factors and the end of some temporary jobs at the beginning of this year as well as spikes in COVID-19 cases.

As for the changes in the number of employees and salaries in June, Chen said it would be difficult to gain a clear picture due to uncertainty over the direction of the domestic COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic fluctuations.

(By Su Szu-yun and Evelyn Kao)

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