An influx of new graduates might push up the national unemployment rate this month, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
With the graduation season in full swing, university-leavers could add to the number of unemployed, which hit its lowest level in more than three-and-a-half years last month.
An indicator of a sluggish economy, unemployment dropped to 4.1 percent last month, down from 4.17 percent in March, and was lower than the 4.29 percent recorded in April last year. This marked its lowest level since August 2008, the DGBAS said in its monthly report.
“The labor market generally remained stable last month, as the total number of unemployed decreased by a marginal 7,000 last month from March to 463,000,” DGBAS Deputy Director Chen Min (陳憫) told a press conference.
However, Chen said employment growth is slowing, indicating downside risks for the labor market in the coming months.
The total number of employed people was at 10.82 million people last month, up 12,000 from a month earlier, a relatively low rate of expansion over the past five years.
This showed that employers were still conservative on new hires, Chen said.
Chen added that the unemployment rate might start to rise as new graduates gradually enter the job market around this time of year.
Gordon Sun (孫明德), director of the macroeconomic forecasting center at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (台灣經濟研究院), said he expected worsening exports in the first half of the year to aggravate the unemployment rate in the second half.
“We have not seen any upside for exports,” Sun said by telephone yesterday. “This might -impact employers’ demand on new hires.”
Sun forecast the unemployment rate in July and August would rise further when more school graduates entered the labor market.
drop in salaries
DGBAS also unveiled its latest salary data yesterday, which showed the nation’s average monthly salary in the first quarter, including bonuses, registered its fourth-largest drop in history by sliding 1.36 percent from a year earlier, a sign that employers have been cutting back wages amid the global economic slowdown.
The average monthly salary stood at NT$37,160 per person in the January-to-March period, up 1.87 percent from a year ago, the report said.
However, the bonus-adjusted average monthly salary — which includes regular salaries, bonuses and other forms of compensation — totaled NT$55,667 over the same period, a drop of 1.36 percent from the previous year.
DGBAS said the second half of last year saw the global economy lose momentum, which discouraged employers from handing out year-end bonuses, further impacting the average salary.