The unemployment rate last month fell to 4.32 percent, ending four months of increases, an indication that the negative seasonal effect led by the large number of first-time jobseekers is fading, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The rate of unemployment — a lagging indicator of economic performance — dropped by 0.08 percentage points last month from 4.4 percent recorded in August, the agency said in its monthly report.
“The sliding jobless rate last month meant the short-term seasonal impact on the labor market has been easing,” DGBAS Deputy Director Chen Min (陳憫) told a press conference.
A majority of college graduates enter the labor market every summer, raising the jobless rate between May and August.
However, with a steady labor market, the unemployment rate should usually improve from September, based on historical experience, which made last month’s data more significant.
Henry Ho (何啟聖), a public relations director at 1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行), remained upbeat on the job market in the near future, as the number of full-time job openings on the online manpower agency’s database has been holding flat at 290,000 for the second consecutive month and continuing to improve from early this year.
However, the rising trend in the seasonally adjusted jobless rate — a more reliable indicator of the long-term trend — reflected some uncertainties for the near future, Chen said.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up 0.01 percentage points from the previous month to 4.3 percent last month, the third straight month it has risen month-on-month, the report said.
Fubon Securities Investment Services Co (富邦投顧) economist Nikki Liu (劉毓芝) said this trend showed the current labor market remains sluggish.
About 2,040 workers from 37 companies had reached agreements with their employers to take unpaid leave as of Oct. 15, the fourth consecutive increase since the beginning of last month, providing more evidence of uncertainties on the job market, Liu said in a note, citing data from the Council of Labor Affairs.
The DGBAS’ latest data released yesterday also showed that national monthly salaries averaged NT$37,345 (US$1,274) in the first eight months of the year, up 1.69 percent from a year ago.
However, when bonuses and other forms of compensation are included, the average monthly remuneration package showed a 0.35 percent markdown from a year earlier and stood at NT$47,247 during the January-to-August period, data showed.
The DGBAS attributed the falling average wages this year to sluggish economic sentiment, which made local employers retain a conservative attitude about distributing bonuses.