Tue, May 24, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Unemployment rate hits 31-month low

RECOVERY:The seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 4.35 percent last month, while workers earned an average of NT$36,612 in March, up 1.42 percent from a year earlier

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter

The unemployment rate improved last month to its lowest level in 31 months — 4.29 percent — evidence that the economic recovery is continuing, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

Last month’s figure was down 0.07 percentage points from March, and 1.1 percentage points lower from a year earlier, DGBAS data showed.

Seasonally adjusted, the unemployment rate stood at 4.35 percent last month, a more reliable indicator of the long-term trend, slipping 0.07 percentage points from March.

The jobless rate has fallen for 20 consecutive months, the statistics showed.

“The number of unemployed decreased last month because of stronger seasonal demand,” Chen Min (陳憫), a deputy director at the agency, told a media briefing.

Last month, the number of unemployed fell by 22,000 from a month earlier to 477,000, with the number of first-time jobseekers and temporary workers losing their jobs down by 9,000 each, the agency said in a press release.

However, the jobless rate could rise this month through August as graduates flood the job market, Chen said.

However, Henry Ho (何啟聖), a public relations director at 1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行), said he was optimistic about the job market this summer because the number of vacancies was on the rise.

More job offerings “will make it easier for first-time jobseekers to find a job this summer,” Ho said in press release.

Ho expected technology companies — especially firms in the smartphones and tablets sectors — to keep posting new positions in the near future amid strong sales momentum.

Taking HTC Corp (宏達電), one of the world’s leading smartphone brands, as example, the company plans to recruit more than 1,000 workers this year, mostly for its research and development section, Ho said.

DGBAS also unveiled its latest data on salaries yesterday, with workers earning an average of NT$36,612 (US$1,262.09) a month in March, up 1.42 percent from a year earlier, the 17th consecutive month of expansion.

The average salary grew 1.4 percent to NT$36,479 in the first three months, while the average including bonuses rose to NT$56,434, up 4.78 percent from the previous year, the data showed.

In comparison, in the first three months of 2008 — before the global financial crisis hit — the NT$36,555 average salary was higher than this year’s average, while the “bonus included” average of NT$55,265 was lower.

“That means local firms prefer giving their employee bonuses to raising basic pay,” Chen said.

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