Wed, Mar 23, 2016 - Page 13 News List

Unemployment rate climbs to 3.95%

YOUNG PEOPLE SUFFERING:The jobless rate among people aged 15 to 24 was the highest at 11.89 percent, with those aged 45 to 64 having a rate of 2.2 percent

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The unemployment rate last month edged up to 3.95 percent from 3.87 percent in January, due to people switching jobs and companies shedding temporary and seasonal positions after the Lunar New Year holiday, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

The reading after seasonal adjustment stood at 3.94 percent, a fourth consecutive monthly rise, reflecting a gradual slowdown in the job market amid economic weakness, the statistics agency said.

“Unemployment gained 0.08 percentage points from a month earlier and climbed to a 17-month high as companies terminated temporary positions and people changed jobs after the Lunar New Year holiday,” DGBAS deputy section head Chang Yun-yun (張雲澐) told a news conference.

The increase fell within the normal range of 0.05 percentage points to 0.14 percentage points recorded for last month due to seasonality, Chang said, adding that the current level suggested a stable market, although it also started to slow.

Compared with a year earlier, the jobless rate picked up 0.26 percentage points, the DGBAS report showed, as firms in different sectors cut headcount to cope with softening business. The latest jobless figures translate into a jobless population of 462,000, an increase of 9,000 from January, the report said.

The number of people who lost their jobs due to seasonality increased by 5,000, while people who quit their jobs increased by 3,000, the report said.

The number of people who lost jobs due to business closures or downsizing rose by 1,000 and first-time jobseekers dropped at the same pace, the report said.

A stable job market is crucial for consumer spending and the overall economy, especially in the first half of this year, when exports are forecast to stay in negative territory due to weak external demand.

The central bank is expected to lower interest rates by an extra 12.5 basis points tomorrow to help support growth and curb inflows of “hot money” that is seeking yields amid an environment of global monetary easing.

The jobless rate was highest at 11.89 percent for the 15-to-24 age bracket and was 4.16 percent for the 25-to-44 age bracket, the report said, while people aged from 45 to 64 had a jobless rate of 2.2 percent.

Unemployment was highest among people with university degrees or higher at 4.9 percent, followed by 4.27 percent for those with only college diplomas, the report said.

The jobless rate for people with only high-school education averaged 3.91 percent and dropped to 3.16 percent for people with less education, the report said.

Average monthly wages stood at NT$75,321 in January, an increase of 44.94 percent from a year earlier, due to the distribution of year-end bonuses, according to a separate survey by the DGBAS.

Excluding such bonuses, monthly wages averaged NT$39,141, a mild increase of 1.54 percent from a year earlier, the report said.

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