The unemployment rate dropped to 4.27 percent last month, its lowest level in 33 months, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
Last month’s figure was down 0.02 percentage points from April, 0.87 percentage points lower from a year earlier, DGBAS data showed, indicating that employers’ demand for workers helped slow the unemployment of first-time jobseekers after graduation season.
“Local companies’ demand for employees last month was stronger than the same period in the past few years, leading to a better-than-expected figure for the unemployment rate,” Chen Min (陳憫), a deputy director at DGBAS, told a media briefing.
Last month, the workforce increased by 20,000 people from a month earlier as graduates entered the job market, but the number of unemployed fell slightly by 1,000 from a month earlier to 476,000, the agency said in a press release.
The number of first-time jobseekers failing to get a job was down by 5,000 to 85,000, it said, while the number of workers losing their jobs through business closures or downsizing dropped by 6,000.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate, a more reliable indicator of the long-term trend, was up 0.06 percentage points last month to 4.41 percent.
Chen said the rise in the seasonally adjusted jobless rate indicated the end of a 20-month-long downtrend and offered more evidence that the economic expansion is slowing, Chen said.
Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), chief economist at Citigroup in Taipei, said that last month’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was slightly higher than the market’s expectation of 4.3 percent.
He said the job market would keep improving and that he still sees more job creations than layoffs. However, the unemployment rate was likely to decline at a slower pace unless local companies’ capital expenditure accelerates again, Cheng said in a research note issued yesterday.
DGBAS also unveiled its latest salary data yesterday that showed workers earned an average of NT$36,693 (US$1,270.58) a month in April, up 1.25 percent from a year earlier, the 18th consecutive monthly increase.
The financial and insurance sector raised the pay more than other sectors, with an average monthly salary of NT$55,548 in April, up 3.25 percent from March, DGBAS data showed.
The average salary rose 1.36 percent to NT$36,533 in the first four months of this year, while the average including bonuses hit a new high to NT$52,505, up 4.78 percent from a year earlier, data showed.
In comparison, in the first four months of 2008 — before the global financial crisis hit — the average salary of NT$36,601 was still slightly higher than this year’s average, Chen said.