While the nation’s middle-aged and elderly people have the lowest unemployment rate among all age brackets, they find it more difficult to land a new job offer if they become unemployed, a Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) survey released on Monday showed.
The survey — which is held every three years, with the latest poll conducted in October last year — showed unemployed people aged 45 and older totaled 98,000, with an average unemployment rate of 2.41 percent.
The figure was lower than the 12.56 percent for people aged between 15 and 24 and the 4.26 percent for 25-to-44-year-olds.
“This reflects the fact that the elderly do not quit their jobs easily because most of them are the primary wage earners in their family,” a DGBAS section chief surnamed Shih (施) said by telephone yesterday.
That 52.88 percent of the unemployed aged 45 and older lost their jobs through business closures or downsizing indicated that most of them were involuntarily taken out of the labor market, Shih said.
Another factor leading to a lower unemployment rate for this group of people was their fears that it would be harder to find a new job, and this was supported by the finding that they reported an average of 29.36 weeks of unemployment, two weeks more than the nation’s overall average, according to the survey.
In the latest survey, middle-aged and elderly people accounted for 36.15 percent of the overall labor force last year, up from 28.19 percent in the 2008 survey.
The DGBAS said the increase was in line with Taiwan’s aging society and that it should be closely and continuously monitored.
Amid a low fertility rate, Taiwan has seen more people delay their retirement in recent years, as they continue to be the major financial source of their family or to support themselves.
The nation’s birthrate hit a record low in 2010, when it saw 7.2 births per 1,000 people, raising government concerns that a declining labor force could impact the economy.
Following a variety of incentive offers to couples, including cash gifts and other childcare and fertility treatment subsidies, the birthrate rose to 8.5 last year, according to the DGBAS.
The DGBAS survey showed that middle-aged and elderly people expressed a desire to retire at an average of 62.36 years old, slightly up from 62.25 years in the previous survey.
A total of 72.98 percent of respondents said they had their pension plans set up appropriately, an increase of 5.88 percentage points from 2008, according to the DGBAS.