Tue, May 23, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Jobless rate falls to 3.78 percent on steady hiring

PLENTIFUL JOBS Overseas demand for the nation's electronics products has helped spur hiring, leading to the lowest unemployment rate for April in six years

AGENCIES , TAIPEI

The nation's jobless rate fell to 3.78 percent last month from 3.87 percent in March on a fall in the number of people who became unemployed due to dissatisfaction with their work, the government's statistics bureau officials said yesterday.

The government added that the number of first-time job seekers and people losing temporary jobs on seasonal factors had also fallen.

Last month's figure of 3.78 percent was down from 4.04 percent a year earlier, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said, adding that last month's figure was the lowest for April since the 3.73 percent recorded in February 2001.

The decline shows demand in the nation's labor market has been steadily improving, said Huang Jiann-jong (黃建中), an official at the statistics bureau.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, last month's unemployment rate came in at 3.93 percent, down from 3.94 percent in the previous month and down from 4.20 percent a year earlier, according to the DGBAS.

Rising overseas demand for the nation's electronics made by companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) is spurring hiring and prompted the government last week to raise its forecast for economic growth this year. A better job market is helping counter the effects of rising credit-card debt on consumer spending.

"Taiwan's labor market is quite stable, with most of the new jobs created in the technology segment," said Ken Su (蘇皓毅), economist at KGI Securities Co (中信證券). "We don't see a drastic change in the coming few months."

The DGBAS last Thursday lifted its forecast for economic growth this quarter to 4.92 percent from 4.56 percent, citing stronger-than-expected exports.

It boosted a full-year estimate to 4.31 percent, from a February projection of 4.25 percent. The economy grew 4.93 percent in the first quarter.

At the time, the statistics bureau also increased a forecast for export growth this year to 8.7 percent from a February projection of 7.7 percent. Overseas sales climbed 11 percent to US$50 billion from a year earlier in the first quarter.

In yesterday's jobless report, the DGBAS said that some 395,000 people were jobless last month, a decline of 9,000 from March.

The eligible workforce last month rose by 9,000 from a month ago and was up by 127,000 from a year earlier at about 10.44 million, the statistics bureau said.

Last month's labor participation rate stood at 57.65 percent, unchanged from March but up 0.02 percentage points higher from a year earlier, the DGBAS said.

In the four months through last month, the unemployment rate averaged 3.84 percent, down 0.29 percentage points from a year earlier, it added.

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