Sun, Oct 26, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Taiwan’s office workers burned by equity slump: poll

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The impact of the global financial meltdown has been increasingly visible in Taiwan, with a recent survey suggesting that nearly two-thirds (65.7 percent) of local office employees have sustained losses in stock market or mutual fund investments.

The online poll released yesterday by the 104 Job Bank showed that among the money-losing workers, 12 percent sustained losses of several hundreds of thousands of NT dollars while 2.2 percent reported losses of more than NT$1 million (US$29,900).

The survey also showed that 24.1 percent of those who lost more than NT$100,000 because of the financial storm work in the investment, financial consulting services and insurance sectors, 18.3 percent work in the electronics and information sectors, and 14.9 percent are in construction.

Those losses may be affecting consumer spending. The survey found that respondents budgeted an average of NT$2,112 to spend during this year’s department store anniversary sales, down from last year, although some retailers have reported brisk sales during their sale periods.

More than 46 percent of respondents said they would spend less during the anniversary sales than last year, while 33 percent said they would spend the same amount and 20.6 percent said they planned to spend more this year.

104 Job Bank researchers concluded that people were cutting down on spending because of rising prices of commodities and a global economic recession.

As to the 20.6 percent of respondents who intended to spend more during the department store sales this year, the researchers said they were “trying to save money by taking advantage of preferential discounts” offered by the retailers.

The survey was conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 4 among 104 Job Bank members. A total of 3,919 valid samples were collected, and the survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 1.57 percent.

On Wednesday, the government released statistics showing the unemployment rate reached 4.27 percent last month, 0.13 percentage points higher than a month earlier. Some 12,000 more people were without jobs.

The average monthly unemployment rate over the first nine months of this year was 3.96 percent, 0.04 percentage points higher than the same period last year, the government figures showed.

Ryan Wu (吳睿穎), chief operating officer of Internet-based 1111 Job Bank, said the rising jobless rate reflected the spread of the global financial crisis and credit crunch to industrial and commercial sectors around the country.

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