Tue, Aug 23, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Jobless rate rises as first-time job seekers increase

GOOD STATISTICS On a seasonally adjusted basis, unemployment last month fell to a four-year low as infotech companies grew and created more work

STAFF WRITER , WITH AGENCIES

Taiwan's unemployment rate last month rose to 4.32 percent from 4.22 percent in June because of a rise in first-time job seekers, the government said yesterday.

But the July jobless rate was lower than the 4.62 percent a year earlier, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, however, unemployment in the month fell to a four-year low at 4.15 percent, down 0.05 percentage points from the preceding month and down 0.28 percentage points from a year earlier, as expansion by companies including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (台積電) created jobs.

"Taiwan's tech companies keep expanding, creating new jobs," said Tiger Cheng, an economist at Polaris Securities Co (寶來證券) in Taipei.

Falling unemployment may boost consumer confidence, helping the government achieve its 4.5 percent economic-growth goal for this year. Growth accelerated to 3 percent in the second quarter from 2.5 percent in the first three months of the year as consumer spending increased 3.2 percent.

Taiwan Semiconductor and rival United Microelectronics Corp (聯電), the world's two largest suppliers of made-to-order chips, are planning to hire 2,100 workers in Taiwan this year.

The government said that unemployment in the first seven months to July averaged 4.17 percent, down 0.33 percentage points from a year earlier.

The budgeting body said 449,000 people were out of work in July, an increase of 12,000 from June, largely because of the rise in first-time job seekers. The eligible workforce in July was 10.39 million.

It also released the latest unemployment rates in major markets, which showed 11.5 percent unemployment in Germany, 10.2 percent in France, 6.8 percent in Canada, 5.7 percent in Hong Kong, 5.0 percent in the US, 4.2 percent in Japan, 3.8 percent in South Korea and 3.4 percent in Singapore.

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