Taiwan’s unemployment rate fell to 4.17 percent last month from 4.24 percent a month earlier, as business downsizing or closures eased and service providers increased recruitment, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
However, the seasonally adjusted jobless reading gained 0.02 percentage points to 4.18 percent and stayed flat from a year ago due to a stagnant job market, the report said.
“The figures show gradual, but slow improvement in the local job market,” DGBAS deputy director Chen Min (陳憫) said.
The number of unemployed people dropped by 8,000 to 475,000 last month, with people losing their jobs to business downsizing or closures down by 3,000, the report said, adding there was an equal decline in the number of people who lost temporary or seasonal jobs.
The number of first-time job seekers fell by 2,000 last month, while the number of people who quit jobs increased by 2,000, the report said.
For the first quarter, the unemployment rate averaged 4.19 percent, down 0.01 percentage points from the same period last year, but the absolute number grew by 4,000 to 478,000, the report found.
The data indicates a stable job market, but one which is not strong enough to bring down unemployment for the young or educated job seekers, Chen said.
People aged between 15 and 24 constituted the largest share of the jobless population at 12.68 percent, far larger than the 25 to 44 age group, at 4.29 percent, and 45 to 64 age group, at 2.31 percent, the report found.
Meanwhile, the report reaffirmed the increasing difficulty people with a higher education are experiencing when trying to land employment.
The jobless rate among people with university or higher education stood at 5.19 percent, higher than 4.45 percent for junior college graduates and 4.13 percent for job seekers with only a high-school education.
Unemployment for people with a junior-high or lower education stood at 3.59 percent.
Firms in the services industry hired 4,000 more staff last month, while the industrial and farming sectors took on an additional 1,000 employees each, the report said, adding that the working population rose by 6,000 to 10.92 million.
The DGBAS released a separate report showing regular wages among Taiwanese workers averaged NT$37,229 (US$1,247) in February, down 1.2 percent from January because of fewer working hours over the Lunar New Year holiday.
For the first two months, regular wages averaged NT$37,456 a month, shrinking 2.4 percent from a year earlier, the report said. The decrease widened to 4.35 percent after adjustment for inflation, the report said.