Inflation drives down real earnings in Taiwan despite increase in wages 

Wages rose from January to June earlier this year, but also saw a drop in earnings for the first time in seven years.
By: | August 14, 2023

While real regular wages in Taiwan increased in the first six months of 2023 compared to the year before, real earnings dropped for the first time in seven years by 0.73%, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) Thursday.

As reported by Focus Taiwan, data compiled by the agency showed that from January to June this year, the regular monthly wages in Taiwan’s industrial and service sectors averaged NTD $45,357 (USD $1249.3), 2.47% higher than the year-earlier level. Meanwhile, monthly earnings, which include non-regular income such as overtime pay and bonuses, rose 1.57% to NTD $62,008 (USD $1947.64).

However, driven by inflation, real regular monthly wages rose only 0.14% compared to last year, while real monthly earnings fell 0.73%, the first drop seen in seven years. The DGBAS defines real wages as salaries and other forms of regular income such as stipends adjusted for inflation.

Chen Hui-hsin, DGBAS’s Census Department Deputy Director, attributed the fall of real wages to a high base of comparison last year when the manufacturing industry was booming, while the global economy and end-user demand have both remained weak this year.

The total number of employees hired in all sectors totalled 8.164 million at the end of June, up 22,000 from a year earlier. This included an increase of 52,000 employees in the service sector against a decline of 33,000 employees in the manufacturing sector, the largest monthly fall in 14 years. The manufacturing sector has seen a decline in the number of employees for six consecutive months, with a fall of 2,000 in January and more in the following months.

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At the same time, the amount of overtime hours worked in the manufacturing sector fell by 0.4 hours from a year earlier in June, despite a rise at the end of May due to the demand for automotive components, Chen said.