Thu, Sep 23, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Jobless rate jumps to nine-month high


The jobless rate rose to 4.67 percent last month -- the highest in nine months -- from 4.62 percent in July, partly as a result of summer season work coming to an end, the government sid yesterday.

Around 481,000 people were jobless last month, a rise of 5,000 from July, according to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DBGAS) figures.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, however, the jobless rate fell to 4.43 percent last month, from 4.49 percent in July, DGBAS said. The figure was the lowest since May 2001, when it was 4.37 percent.

DGBAS Deputy-Director Liu Beei-chern (劉北辰) said the jobless rate last month isn't a cause for concern.

The monthly rate went up but the seasonally adjusted rate went down ``so that tells us the unemployment situation has not deteriorated,'' he said.

He attributed the high rate last month largely to seasonal factors like workers leaving short-term jobs and the influx of first-time job seekers -- mainly recent graduates from high schools and universities.

The jobless rate should come down a bit this month, Liu said, since August normally represents a peak for the year due to new graduates entering the work force.

He also said unemployment is on track to hit the government's target of 4.5 percent for the whole of the year. For the first eight months of the year it stood at 4.52 percent.

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