Thu, Dec 23, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Jobless rate drops to lowest in more than three years

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation's unemployment rate last month dropped to the lowest in over three years as a result of the economic rebound, the Cabinet-level Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said in a statement yesterday.

The unadjusted jobless rate last month fell 0.17 percent from the previous month to 4.14 percent, a new low since May 2001, when it was 4.22 percent, the DGBAS said.

After seasonal adjustment, the jobless rate last month was 4.16 percent.

The average unemployment rate was 4.47 percent for the first 11 months of this year, while the annual rate is expected to fall below 4.5 percent this year, according to the DGBAS.

The decline resulted from decreases in the number of unemployed among first-time job seekers as well as part-time workers, reducing the jobless to 426,000 people, down from 443,000 people in October, it said.

Last month's figure of 4.14 percent compared favorably to Germany's unemployment rate of 10.1 percent, France's 9.9 percent, Canada's 7.3 percent, Hong Kong's 6.7 percent, the US' 5.4 percent and Japan's 4.7 percent, while two other Asian countries, South Korea and Singapore, saw a jobless rate of 3.5 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, according to the agency's figures.

Accordingly, the number of employed in the manufacturing and service industries at the end of October grew to 5.89 million people, up by 12,000 people from the previous month, or 182,000 people from a year ago, the DGBAS said in the statement.

In the meantime, the average monthly working hours increased slightly by 0.1 hour to 183 hours from September, but slid by 5.3 hours from a year ago, it said.

In contrast to the minor increase in labor hours, average wages dropped by 3.53 percent month-on-month to NT$39,012 per month at the end of October. The average salary was NT$43,443 in the first 10 months of this year, up by merely 0.49 percent year-on-year, after deducting an increase of 1.62 percent in the consumer price index, the agency said.

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