Sat, Nov 23, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Jobless rate unchanged at 4.24 percent

EARNINGS:Besides a disappointing jobs number last month, the average monthly wage in the first nine months of the year also declined 0.23 percent to NT$46,778

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.24 percent last month compared with September, as a tepid economy failed to lend support to the job market, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

On an annual basis, the unemployment rate dipped 0.09 percentage points last month from the same period last year, the DGBAS said in its monthly report.

Historically, the unemployment rate usually drops month-on-month in October, as the seasonal effect from an influx of first-time jobseekers during summer fades.

However, this was the third consecutive year that the rate did not show an improvement from September, DGBAS figures showed.

“A continued sluggish economic recovery has made it a challenge for the unemployment rate to trend down in the short term,” DGBAS Deputy Director Lo Yi-ling (羅怡玲) told a press conference.

In terms of the number of people unemployed, the figure reached 487,000 people last month, an increase of 1,000 from the previous month, with the number of people losing their job as a result of businesses downsizing or factories closing climbing by 2,000.

The job market remained basically stable, as there were no massive layoffs due to business closures, Lo said.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate — a more accurate indicator of the long-term employment trend — supported Lo’s view, shedding 0.01 percentage points from September to 4.17 percent last month.

Capital Securities Corp (群益證券) said it expects the jobless rate to improve this quarter, following data showing that export orders last month increased for the fourth consecutive month on the back of a recovery in demand for mobile devices in the global market.

However, 1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行) public relations director Daniel Lee (李大華) raised concern about the still relatively high unemployment rate last month, which he says implies a major uncertainty for the local labor market.

The jobless rate among 15-to-24-year-olds stood at 13.89 percent last month, down from 13.95 percent in September, but is still the highest level among all age groups, the DGBAS report said.

The statistics agency also published the average monthly wage of workers in the industrial and service sectors, which climbed to a new high of NT$37,664 after rising 0.88 percent annually in the first nine months of the year.

However, the overall average monthly wage, including bonuses and compensation, dropped 0.23 percent to NT$46,778 from January to September compared with a year earlier, as employers handed out fewer bonuses because of the weak economic sentiment last year, the agency said.

After adjusting for inflation — which climbed 0.88 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters — the real average wage, including bonuses and compensation, fell 1.1 percent from last year to NT$45,606 per month in the nine-month period, data showed.

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