Fri, Dec 23, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Jobless rate at lowest level in years


The nation's jobless rate fell to 3.94 percent last month, its lowest level in more than four years, partly due to a decline in the number of first-time job seekers and fewer business closures, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said yesterday.

Last month's unemployment rate was the lowest since the 3.89 percent recorded in March 2001. The level was also down from October's 4.07 percent and 4.14 percent a year earlier, the agency said.

Some 411,000 people were jobless last month, a fall of 13,000 from the preceding month.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, last month's jobless rate came in at 4 percent, unchanged from the previous month and down from 4.16 percent a year earlier.

Major decreases included 12,000 in the number of first-time job seekers and 4,000 in the number of those who lost their jobs due to business closures or cutbacks.

"First-time job seekers are students who start looking for jobs in July-August, and by November find employment,'' Liu Beei-chern (劉碧珍), deputy director of the agency's Bureau of Census, said.

The decline in their number reflects stronger economic growth in the second half of this year, which improved conditions in the job market, Liu said.

The government said on Nov. 17 that the economy grew 4.38 percent in the third quarter, the highest quarterly growth rate in a year, and growth may accelerate to 5.3 percent in the fourth quarter.

As a result, the government increased its forecast for this year from 3.65 percent to 3.8 percent and to 4.1 percent from 4 percent for next year.

The government expects the jobless rate for this year overall to be around

4.1 percent, Liu said, given the average rate between January and November

was 4.15 percent, down 0.32 percentage points from a year earlier.

“Judging from our data, December's jobless number usually falls from

November,” Liu said.

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