Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) was confident yesterday that the government’s measures to combat unemployment would produce better results in the next two or three months.
Liu promised the government would work to keep this year’s unemployment situation “within acceptable limits.”
The unemployment rate soared to 5.03 percent last December, hitting the highest level since October 2003 and marking the first time in five years that the monthly jobless rate topped 5 percent.
The average unemployment rate for last year was 4.14 percent, a four-year high.
Liu addressed the issue during a meeting with personnel officials, during which he urged government employees to do their jobs to the best of their ability to put themselves over the top.
Liu said the government might be a bit optimistic by forecasting that GDP would shrink only by 2.97 percent this year, but he said the forecast was not based on “blind optimism.”
Liu said he was confident of the government’s ability to get things done, pointing to growth in government investment in the fourth quarter of last year and the fact that 53 percent of the government’s stimulus package to boost domestic demand has been implemented over the past five months.
He said the recent drop in bank lending does not mean a failure of the government’s policy to encourage banks to provide financing to healthy businesses, but reflects a fall in demand.
He noted that Taiwanese exports had fallen by NT$200 billion due to the drop in global market demand.