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Per-worker winter bonuses at companies this year are expected to show an increase of 1.1 percent to 1.8 percent from a year earlier on the back of strong business performance, according to forecasts of a brokerage and three private-sector think tanks released last week.

Although small, it will mark the third consecutive year that winter bonuses have increased. They were up 1.0 percent in 2005.

For this winter, Mizuho Securities Co. has the lowest prediction among the four — 1.1 percent. Companies have seen workforce shortages recently and are likely to hire more workers, meaning employers will spend more on new hiring than on bonuses, it said.

Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting predicted a 1.8 percent rise.

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