Taipei, March 14 (CNA) Overtime work hours in Taiwan’s manufacturing sector rose for the seventh consecutive month in January, indicating a possible recovery in the sector, said officials at the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) Thursday.

Overtime work hours in the sector were recorded at 15.3 hours per employee in January, marking a 2.2 hour year-on-year per capita increase, said DGBAS Census Department Deputy Director Chen Hui-hsin (陳惠欣).

Chen said overtime hours in manufacturing fell to 13-14 after the later half of 2022, when global demand was weak, but began to gradually rise again in July 2023.

However, although overtime hours increased, the number employed in the manufacturing sector decreased by 1,000 in January from December 2023. The signs of recovery would have been stronger had the number increased, Chen said.

In the electronic components industry, overtime work hours grew for the seventh consecutive month to 23 hours per employee, a 4.8 hour per capita year-on-year increase. However, the number employed in the sector fell by 1,000 from a month earlier.

The number employed in the industrial and service sectors saw combined year-on-year growth of 28,000. The industrial sector decreased by 27,000 and the service sector increased by 55,000, with the accommodation and catering industry and retail industry both rising by 12,000, said Chen.

This highlights the different pace of recovery between the two sectors. The industrial sector is improving but has not yet reached full recovery, while the service sector is booming, on the back of the post-COVID recovery and heavy consumption leading up to the Lunar New Year.

Average monthly wages, including bonuses and overtime pay, in the two sectors in January fell 18.54 percent from a year earlier to NT$85,796 (US$2,721.6). After deducting inflation, wages rose by 0.5 percent year-on-year and real wages dropped by 19.98 percent, according to DGBAS.

Although people are concerned about real wages, the calculation of wages and prices in January and February is complicated by the Lunar New Year holiday, Chen said.

The holiday was in late January last year and in early February this year, reducing the reference value of the wage changes in January. It is best to wait until the figures for February to come out and compare the two months combined, Chen added.



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