Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Jobless rate shows slight increase

UNEMPLOYMENT The numbers on first glance looked a tad discouraging, but new graduates entering the market seem to have created just a temporary glut

STAFF WRITER

The unemployment rate last month increased by 0.13 percent to 4.54 percent, as college graduates poured into the labor market in the period, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said in a statement yesterday.

After seasonal adjustments, the jobless rate was 4.57 percent last month, up 0.03 percentage points from May, the agency said.

There were 46,600 people out of a job, an increase of 45,700 from May, the statement said. For the first half of the year, the average jobless rate was 4.48 percent, a decrease of 0.55 percent from the same period last year, the agency added.

Though the job market has rebounding from the low it reached last August, when the jobless rate was 5.21 percent, a rise in the number of first-time job seekers drove the rate up slightly, with 12,000 graduates out of work, the statement said.

Nevertheless, they may need not worry too much. Market watchers such as Rocky Young (楊基寬), president of 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行), say the number of job opportunities for new graduates has increased 60 percent this year over a year earlier.

Many of the vacancies are released to the high-tech, finance and service industries, he said. As companies have held large job fairs to recruit new employees, the jobless rate will go down this month, he said.

One large-scale job fair was held by Chinese-language magazine Career Consulting (就業情報) in the third exhibition hall of Taipei World Trade Center last weekend. The fair attracted more than 120,000 job seekers interested in 250,000 positions available at 150 companies, including the nation's two largest flat-panel display makers AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子).

Yen Tai-shen (閻台生), vice president of Citibank Taiwan's human resources department, said the banking industry will increase employment this year.

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