Tue, Jul 24, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Unemployment rate falls

STEAMING AHEAD Economic growth will expand 4.5 percent this year, faster than a previous prediction of 4.1 percent, an economist at Standard Chartered said

BLOOMBERG

Taiwan's jobless rate fell last month, as financial services companies hired more workers.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.90 percent last month from 3.95 percent in May, seasonally adjusted, the government's statistics bureau said yesterday.

The median estimate of eight economists surveyed previously by Bloomberg was 3.97 percent.

Without adjusting for seasonal factors, Taiwan's jobless rate rose to 3.96 percent from 3.87 percent in May, the statistics bureau said. The number of people unemployed climbed to 423,000 from 413,000 the previous month.

Meanwhile, average regular wages rose by 1.46 percent, the largest growth in five years, to NT$36,490 (US$1,100) for the first five months of this year, backed by the nation's decent economic growth, the government agency said.

Job gains in Taiwan may drive wages higher, stoking household spending and helping fuel the island's economic expansion. Standard Chartered PLC this month increased its estimate for economic growth this year, citing an expected recovery in consumer demand.

"We're seeing more people joining the job market," said Cheng Chen-mount (鄭貞茂), chief economist at Citibank Taiwan. "That will boost consumer spending."

Cheng last week raised his estimate for consumer spending to increase 3 percent for this year, compared with an earlier forecast of 2.8 percent.

UBS AG said this month it is hiring more private bankers to serve Taiwan, where the richest citizens hold more wealth than in any Asian country except for China and Japan.

UBS will add 30 private bankers in Taiwan this year for a total of 80, said Dennis Chen (陳允懋), who oversees the company's onshore private banking business in Taipei. Citigroup Inc, Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas and ABN Amro Holding NV say they will also add bankers to cater to Taiwan's wealthy.

State-owned companies will hire a total of 1,275 workers in the second half, the Chinese-language Commercial Times reported on July 14.

CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) will recruit 560 people, Taiwan Power Co (台電) will hire 577, while Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (台灣煙酒公司) will add 138, the newspaper said.

Amid signs of faster economic growth, exports surged twice as much as economists expected last month on increased shipments to China and Europe. Exports soared 11 percent from a year earlier, a government report this month showed.

The government in May raised its economic growth forecast for this year to 4.4 percent from a 4.3 percent prediction in February. A pickup in demand in the second half may help spur job gains and consumer spending.

The economy will expand 4.5 percent this year, faster than a previous prediction of 4.1 percent, according to Standard Chartered's Taipei-based economist Tony Phoo.

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