Wed, Feb 20, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Higher profits boosted wages last year

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Monthly take-home pay last year averaged NT$40,980 (US$1,329), a 2.57 percent pickup from a year earlier, as a stable economy allowed firms to raise wages and distribute more bonuses, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

“Many firms made more money and raised wages for employees last year,” DGBAS Deputy Director Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨) told a media briefing.

Listed firms reported NT$35.12 trillion in collective revenue last year, an 8.2 percent increase from 2017, even though economic bellwethers showed signs of a slowdown in the final quarter as the US-China trade row started to bite.

Total average monthly wages — including both take-home pay and non-regular compensation — rose 3.94 percent to NT$51,957 last year, the agency said in a report.

As many companies shared business improvement with their employees, non-regular wages — bonuses, overtime pay and performance-based rewards — rose a faster 9.38 percent to a four-year high, Pan said.

After factoring in inflation, real take-home pay averaged NT$38,235 per month last year, less than the NT$38,398 recorded in 2001, the official said.

“That is because consumer prices advanced more rapidly than wage increase,” he said.

This explains why many people have complained about unaffordability and failed to benefit from economic growth, Pan said.

In December last year, overall average wages rose 3.62 percent year-on-year to NT$50,861 per month, while average take-home pay gained 2.11 percent to NT$41,414, the report said.

It was the 13th consecutive month that average wages increased, Pan said, adding that wage figures are closely tied to corporate earnings and are also linked to economic showings.

The agency would pay close attention to any negative changes likely to be caused by the economic slowdown at home and abroad, he said.

The agency last week trimmed its forecast for the nation’s GDP growth this year from 2.41 percent to 2.17 percent on concern that exports might be weaker than expected amid the tariff row.

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