Thu, Feb 23, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Unemployment rate holds steady at 4.18%

EARNING POWER:Statistics showed that the nation’s real average wages went up only 0.04% last year, although this rose to 2.73% when bonuses were included

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter

The unemployment rate last month was unchanged at 4.18 percent from the previous month, maintaining the lowest level since August 2008, as stronger demand from the service sector offset weakness in the manufacturing industry, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

On an annual basis, the unemployment rate was 0.46 percentage points lower than the 4.64 percent posted in January last year, the directorate said in a statement.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, a more accurate indicator of the long-term trend, dropped a slight 0.02 percentage points from the previous month to 4.19 percent last month, the statement said.

“The labor market has remained stable, as reflected by the unemployment rate over the past few months,” Chen Min (陳憫), a deputy director at the statistics agency, told a press conference.

The total number of unemployed increased by a marginal 1,000 last month from December to 472,000, according to the statement.

However, labor market demand trends between the manufacturing sector and the service sector differed last month, Chen said.

The number of people employed in the manufacturing sector fell by 3,000 last month from a month earlier, as a weaker outlook amid global economic uncertainties drove down demand for workers, DGBAS data showed.

However, demand in the service sector remained buoyant, with the number of employed in the wholesale and retail industries rising by 5,000 last month, statistics showed.

Henry Ho (何啟聖), a public relations director at 1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行), said he took a conservative view of the unemployment rate for this month and next month.

Although the unemployment rate has remained stable, Ho said that it may take people who left positions after the Lunar New Year a little longer than usual to find a new one, putting pressure on the jobless rate.

The DGBAS yesterday also unveiled its latest data on salaries, with its statistics showing that workers earned an average of NT$36,803 (US$1,240) a month last year, up 1.47 percent from a year earlier.

However, excluding the 1.42 percent growth in consumer prices, the nation’s real average wages only rose 0.04 percent last year, DGBAS said.

When bonuses and other forms of compensation were factored in, the average salary last year climbed 2.73 percent from a year ago to NT$45,642, marking the highest level in history, DGBAS statistics showed.

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