The nation’s unemployment rate climbed to 3.9 percent last month, from 3.82 percent in July, as new graduates continued to increase the jobless population, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The latest jobless reading suggested a stable labor market — which lags behind major economic indicators by three to six months — DGBAS deputy section chief Chang Yun-yun (張雲澐) said.
That means companies tend to maintain their hiring policy for some time when faced with business volatility, the DGBAS said.
“Reports of business closures and downsizing have yet to affect the job market,” Chang said, attributing the rise in the unemployment rate last month to an influx of new graduates.
The DGBAS said that the labor market might not improve, as companies tend to cut staff if the economic slowdown deteriorates.
So far this quarter, several technology firms including smartphone vendor HTC Corp (宏達電) have announced plans to lay off employees, and US online shopping deals giant Groupon Inc has made known its intention to exit the local market and discharge more than 100 Taiwanese employees by the end of the year, while some other companies have adopted unpaid leave plans in the face of a business slowdown.
On Monday, Innolux Corp (群創光電) confirmed it had let go 31 employees in the first half of the year for failing to pass a regular job appraisal, refuting a report by the Chinese-language Economic Daily News that local panel makers such as Innolux and AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) had cut jobs to weather a slump in demand.
“It is too early to gauge their impact on the job market since the downsizing is to take place over a few months and people on unpaid leave are not included in the jobless count,” the DGBAS said.
The unemployment rate after seasonal adjustment stood unchanged at 3.74 percent last month, the DGBAS report showed.
The jobless population stood at 456,000 last month, an increase of 11,000 from July, the report said, as the number of first-time job seekers rose by 6,000, while people who lost their jobs to business closures or downsizing grew by 3,000, the report said.
People who quit their jobs because of dissatisfaction increased by 1,000 from July, the report said.
A breakdown by education degrees shows that the unemployment rate was highest among people with a university degree or higher at 5.04 percent, followed by college graduates at 4.33 percent and high-school graduates at 3.9 percent, according to DGBAS tallies.
By age group, unemployment was highest among people aged 15 to 24 at 12.93 percent, compared with the 25-to-44 age group at 4.03 percent and the 45-to-64 age group at 1.95 percent, the report said.
In a separate report, the average monthly take-home wage stood at NT$38,851 in July, up 1.47 percent from the same month last year, the agency said.
Adding non-regular compensation, such as mid-year bonuses, the average monthly wage rose 2.26 percent to NT$46,922 in July from a year earlier, the report showed.
For the first seven months of the year, average take-home pay gained 1.43 percent year-on-year to NT$38,591 per month and, including bonuses, rose 3.53 percent to NT$51,454.
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