The unemployment rate edged up to 3.72 percent last month, ending six months of decreases, as companies in the service sector cut temporary positions after the Lunar New Year holiday, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The latest jobless figure, while gaining 0.03 percentage point from February, is the lowest in 15 years when compared with the same month of the year, DGBAS Deputy Director Lo Yi-ling (羅怡玲) said.
The statistics official attributed the stable job market to an improving economy at home and abroad, which helped boost domestic wages to a record high in the first two months of the year.
“The jobless rate rose slightly [last month] due to the losses of temporary jobs after the Lunar New Year holiday,” Lo said, adding that some workers quit jobs to search of better ones after obtaining bonuses at the end of the lunar year.
The unemployment rate after seasonal adjustments stood at 3.75 percent last month, also higher than 3.74 percent recorded a month earlier, the DGBAS report showed.
The figures suggested a jobless population of about 431,000 last month, an increase of 3,000 from February, the report said.
The number of people who quit jobs increased by 3,000 last month, while people who lost their jobs due to business closures or seasonal factors increased by 3,000, the report said.
However, first-time job seekers dropped by 3,000 last month, thanks to a growing job pool, the report said.
The service sector hired an extra 93,000 workers, while industrial sectors added 34,000 last month, from a year earlier, the report said.
Unemployment was highest among people with a university degree or higher at 4.71 percent, followed by college graduates at 4.04 percent and high-school graduates at 3.78 percent, the report said.
By age, the 15-to-24 group had the highest unemployment rate at 11.58 percent, compared with 3.91 percent for the 25-to-44 group and 1.99 percent for the 45-to-64 bracket, the report said.
The job market might remain stable going forward, as 1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行) reported 48,000 job openings last month, the highest in 16 years, the company said in statement.
Regular monthly wages averaged NT$38,148 in February, down 1.03 percent from January, but up 1.64 percent from a year earlier, the DGBAS said in a separate report.
Non-regular monthly wages stood at NT$86,666 in February, more than double the level in the prior year, as improved earnings allowed firms to provide better bonuses to employees, the statistics agency said.
Stripping holiday distortions, regular monthly wages picked up 1.62 percent year-on-year to a record high of NT$38,347 for the first two months, DGBAS data showed, adding that the wage increase would hit 2.2 percent after factoring in inflation.