Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Jobless rate plunges to below 4 percent

MORE EMPLOYMENT?Not since 2008 has the unemployment rate been this low, but one analyst is cautious, with 300,000 graduate jobseekers expected next month

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

The unemployment rate fell to 3.91 percent last month, its lowest level in nearly six years, on the back of an economic recovery that boosted momentum in the job market, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

The rate of 3.91 percent last month was an improvement by 0.12 percentage points from 4.03 percent in March and by 0.16 percentage points from 4.07 percent in April last year, the agency said in its monthly report. The figure marked the lowest level since June 2008.

It was the first time the jobless rate has fallen below 4 percent since the global financial crisis in 2008, the agency said.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate — a more accurate indicator of the long-term employment trend — also fell, shedding 0.02 percentage points from March to 4.04 percent last month, the report said.

“During the financial crisis [in 2008], the pace of economic recovery was slow, which made the nation’s jobless rate stay above 4 percent for quite a while,” DGBAS Deputy Director Lo Yi-ling (羅怡玲) told a press conference.

However, demand in both the public and private sectors has rebounded this year, driving the number of unemployed down by 14,000 to 449,000 last month from March, she said.

Lo said she remains cautious about the unemployment situation in the near future, as a new round of college graduates will enter the job market next month, an expected influx of about 300,000 first-time jobseekers.

However, 1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行) public relations director Daniel Lee (李大華) said the demand for staff may remain strong in the second half of the year, mainly driven by strong orders received in the electronics sector.

The DGBAS report also said that the average monthly wage in the industrial and service sectors climbed to a record-level NT$37,808 in the first three months of the year, an increase of 1.31 percent from the previous year.

The overall average monthly wage, including bonuses and compensation, rose 5.54 percent to a new high of NT$57,582 in the first quarter, compared with the same period in the previous year, the report said.

However, the increase in the average wage was still lower than the pace of the consumer price index.

After adjusting the average for inflation — which climbed 0.8 percent year-on-year in the January-to-March period — the real average wage, including bonuses and compensation, totaled NT$55,872, which was still less than the NT$56,949 recorded during the same period in 1998, the DGBAS report said.

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