Winter bonuses to inch higher: survey

Private firms with five or more employees are likely to pay their workers an average bonus of 388,000 yen this winter, a 2 percent increase from last year, a survey by Mizuho Securities Co. has found.

According to the study results released on Nov. 2, the estimated average bonus payment at such companies marks the first rise in two years, reflecting a recovery in corporate earnings. The brokerage house attributes the small scale of the increase to growing uncertainty over the economy mainly due to the high yen.

The survey also predicts that the number of people who will receive a bonus will rise 1 percent from last winter to 36.9 million, while the grand total of bonuses paid will reach 14.31 trillion yen, a 3 percent jump. The modest gains point to a recovery in the manufacturing industry, where exports to developing nations have grown, and a weakening drive to cut labor costs.