The unemployment rate dropped to 5.17 percent last month from 5.2 percent in July, thanks to an increasing number of jobs in public service under government incentives, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
Following seasonal adjustments, the unemployment rate declined for the 12th consecutive month to 5.11 percent, compared with 5.17 percent in July, indicating that growth momentum remains strong in the labor market, the statistics agency said.
“The number of government jobs [created by incentive programs] increased by 4,000, or 0.38 percent, from a month earlier to a record high of 1,054,000,” DGBAS Deputy Director Liu Tian-syh (劉天賜) told a press briefing.
Had it not been for the job incentives, last month’s unemployment rate would have reached 5.62 percent, Liu said, adding that the government would continue to provide employment incentives to create more jobs.
To achieve the government’s goal of reducing the unemployment rate to less than 5 percent by the end of the year, the DGBAS said that 20,000 more jobs need to be created.
Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), chief economist at Citigroup Taiwan Inc, said the employed population had increased for several months in a row, indicating that the job market was indeed improving.
“Between October last year and last month, the number of people employed grew by 279,000. This contributed greatly to the continuing decline of the unemployment rate,” Cheng said by telephone.
The DGBAS’ latest data showed total employment payrolls were 10.57 million last month, up 0.31 percent month-on-month and 2.77 percent year-on-year, as the economy turned bullish and an influx of new graduates entered the labor market, but the improving economy also makes the job market more competitive, as it means more people are looking for work, said Jennifer Hong (洪雪珍), a top executive at the online human resources Web site Yes123.com.
The Web firm’s latest study showed that about 77 percent of new graduates were passively looking for work, which Hong said was a major reason for a low employment rate among young job seekers rather than any structural problems in the economy.
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