The unemployment rate fell 0.05 percentage points to 4.09 percent last month, with the number of people out of work declining by 4,000 to 422,000, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said in a statement yesterday.
The latest figure is the lowest monthly jobless rate since April 2001, when it was 4.22 percent. After seasonal adjustments, the unemployment rate was 4.21 percent last month, up from 4.16 percent in November, the DGBAS said.
The workforce grew by 17,000 people to 9.88 million last month and the labor participation ratio was 57.77 percent, up 0.02 percentage points month-on-month, as companies increased hiring to meet surging overseas demand.
For the whole of last year, unemployment averaged 4.44 percent, down 0.55 percentage points from 2003, according to the DGBAS.
An economist at JP Morgan Asia Economic Research said the latest unemployment report showed a broad-based improvement in the job market.
The number of people who lost their jobs because of business closures and job cuts fell by 14,000 last month, the DGBAS said.
"The past two years saw the longest period of steady, undisrupted employment growth in Taiwan's labor market in a decade, providing solid foundations for a sustained upturn in domestic consumption demand in 2005," JP Morgan economist Grace Ng (吳向紅) said in a statement yesterday.