The unemployment rate fell for the third straight month last month to its lowest level in nearly five years, indicating a stable labor market, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The jobless rate last month dropped to 4.06 percent from 4.07 percent in April, returning to the level recorded in July 2008, before the global financial crisis, the DGBAS said in its monthly report.
On an annual basis, it fell by 0.06 percentage points last month, with the seasonally adjusted jobless rate — a more accurate indicator of the long-term trend in the labor market — staying flat from a month earlier at 4.19 percent, the report said.
The latest data showed that 463,000 people were unemployed last month, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous month.
DGBAS deputy director Chen Min (陳憫) said last month’s results showed that the labor market was steady, but with new graduates joining, the unemployment rate may climb this month.
“No matter how the economy turns, the jobless rate will climb in the short term, as first-time jobseekers might not readily receive an offer,” Chen told a press conference.
Daniel Lee (李大華), a public relations director at manpower agency 1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行), said he expected the unemployment rate to start rising from this month, before falling again in September or October.
Still, compared with the same period last year, labor demand looks steady, Lee said.
“Various medium or large-sized corporations started looking for management assistants earlier [than usual], between March and last month ... further helping the job market to improve despite current economic headwinds,” Lee said in a statement.
The DGBAS yesterday also published the average monthly wage of workers in the industrial and service sectors, which rose 0.67 percent in the first four months of the year to NT$37,547 from a year ago — the highest level ever recorded.
However, the overall average monthly wage, including bonuses and compensation, dropped 1.09 percent to NT$51,674 in the first four months from a year earlier, as employers distributed fewer bonuses because of the weak economic sentiment last year, the agency said.
After adjusting for inflation — which climbed 1.62 percent year-on-year in the first four months of the year — the real average wage, including bonuses and compensation, fell 2.67 percent from a year earlier to a four-year low of NT$50,562 in the first four months of the year, statistics showed.
The figure was lower than the NT$51,143 real average wage recorded in 1998, indicating that salaried workers are facing a tougher economy now than they did 16 years ago.