Friday, February 10, 2012

December 2011 Manufacturing: Something Really Strange…

Along with yesterday’s IPI report, DOS also released the December stats for the Manufacturing sector. And there’s something really strange about the numbers, specifically total wages (RM millions):


More workers maybe? Nope:


The resulting divergence means that average pay per employee jumped:


And it’s not really due to productivity gains either, which was essentially flat:


Could it be that manufacturers, out of the goodness of their hearts, suddenly decided to pay their employees what they’re worth? Nah, couldn’t be.

Another view of the same problem, in index form (2008m1=100):


Note that income per worker outpaced gains in sales per worker from 2009 onwards – but the gap got really big in December 2011.

The only explanation I can think of is that with profits on the books for 2011, employers were finally comfortable in giving bigger bonuses to their employees; you see the same pattern pre-CNY in the past couple of years, albeit on a considerably smaller scale.

But the size of the jump in salaries is pretty startling.

Technical Notes:

December 2011 Monthly Manufacturing Statistics from the Department of Statistics


  1. It would be interesting to see the jump between skilled, semi-skilled & unskilled (or between different educational groups (professional & non - professional) groups.

  2. @Hafiz,

    The NWCC is two months late with their recommendation, so I don't think this is preempting the minimum wage.


    Yes, I imagine the "rewards" weren't evenly distributed