This winter’s employee bonus will average 672,000 yen — up 4.4 percent from a year earlier — for 278 major Japanese companies that struck deals with unions over the spring and summer, a private research institute said Friday.

This is the highest level of growth since the 6.2 percent rise recorded in 1990, the Institute of Labor Administration said.

The 278 companies are among about 1,580 firms listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Although the figure does not cover textile and construction companies, which have not reached agreements yet, the final winter-bonus growth rate is expected to be between 4 percent and 5 percent, the institute said.

Manufacturers, which account for 213 of the 278 firms, will see a 5.2 percent increase to 684,000 yen in the average bonus payment. Steelmakers will see a 15 percent jump on the strength of robust exports to China, while machinery makers will also record a large increase of 13 percent.

The automaking industry’s bonus average will decline 4 percent, due primarily to a serious fall in earnings at Mitsubishi Motors Corp. prompted by defect coverup scandals.

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