The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in five-and-a-half-years last month, as more first-time jobseekers landed jobs, which helped lift the number of the employed, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The jobless rate improved to 4.02 percent last month, down 0.06 percentage points from 4.08 percent in December last year, DGBAS said in its monthly report.
That is the lowest level since June 2008.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also dropped 0.07 percentage points to 4.14 percent last month from 4.21 percent in December, the report said.
“The unemployment rate has improved to the level before the global financial crisis struck the nation’s economy and labor market in late 2008,” DGBAS Deputy Director Lo Yi-ling (羅怡玲) told a press conference in Taipei.
There were 462,000 people unemployed last month, a drop of 7,000 from the previous month, the report’s data showed.
The number of first-time jobseekers who failed to get an offer declined by 6,000 last month from December last year, reflecting a recent improvement in the youth market.
The jobless rate for the 15-to-24 age group decreased to 12.69 percent last month, from 13.1 percent the previous month, a fifth straight month of decline, the agency’s statistics showed.
However, there was only a slight rise in the number of employed last month — to 11.04 million — up 7,000 from a month earlier, as the economy’s soft expansion could not provide strong enough momentum for the job market, Lo added.
The number of the unemployed may increase this month given historical trends, as many people looking to change jobs quit before the Lunar New Year holiday, he said.
The agency said real monthly salaries averaged NT$44,739 last year after taking inflation into account, less than the NT$44,798 recorded in 1998, an indication that salaried workers may feel they are earning less than they were 15 years ago.
The average monthly wage in the industrial and service sectors climbed to a new high of NT$37,716 last month, an increase of 0.99 percent from a year earlier, the DGBAS report said.
The overall average monthly wage, including bonuses and compensation, rose 0.17 percent to a new high of NT$45,965 last year compared with 2012, the report said.
However, after adjusting for inflation — which climbed 0.79 percent year-on-year last year — the real average wage, including bonuses and compensation, fell 0.62 percent from 2012 to NT$44,739 per month, the report showed.