Sat, Jul 23, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Unemployment rate inches up to 3.92 percent

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s unemployment rate edged up to 3.92 percent last month, an increase of 0.08 percentage points from May, as new graduates joined the market, many of whom have yet to land positions, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

Economic weakness contributed to the slow but gradual upswing in the jobless rate, which gained 0.21 percentage point from a year earlier, as firms remained conservative about adding headcounts despite the arrival of high sales season, the statistics agency said.

“The entry of new graduates will lift the jobless rate for the coming months until the impact of seasonality fades away in September,” DGBAS senior executive officer Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨) said by telephone.

The jobless gauge after seasonal adjustments stood unchanged at 3.96 percent last month, consistent with the nation’s stagnating economy, the DGBAS report showed.

For the first six months of this year, unemployment averaged 3.89 percent, rising for the first time in seven years, Pan said, as companies cut personnel costs to cope with business slowdown.

The local job market has felt the pinch since the second half of last year though the pace is modest this time, compared with the global financial crisis in 2008-2009, Pan said.

The statistics official shied away from speculating on a recovery, saying jobless rates are a lagging economic indicator and might not show improvement even when the economy starts to turn around.

The nation’s economy has contracted for three consecutive quarters ending the first quarter. The DGBAS is to release the preliminary second-quarter GDP figure on Friday next week.

The total number of unemployed people stood at 459,000 last month, an increase of 10,000 from May, as the number of first-time job seekers gained 9,000 and the number of people who quit their jobs increased by 1,000, the report said.

However, the number of people who lost their jobs due to business downsizing or closures dropped by 2,000, the report said.

Unemployment was highest among people with university degrees or higher at 4.78 percent, followed by people with college diplomas at 4.18 percent, the report showed.

The jobless rate stood at 3.93 percent for people with high-school education and at 3.19 percent for people with junior-high school education.

“People with higher education tend to change jobs if they are discontent with current ones,” Pan said.

In related news, monthly take-home wages averaged NT$39,260 in May, a 1.61 percent increase from the previous year, the DGBAS said in a separate report.

Average monthly wages, including bonuses and other compensation, amounted to NT$45,828 in May, an increase of 4.52 percent from a year earlier, the report showed.

For the first five months of the year, take-home wages rose to NT$39,098 per month, while average salaries fell 0.22 percent to NT$53,626, due to lower bonuses and performance compensations, the report said.

The inflation of 1.67 percent eroded real take-home and average wages by 0.08 percent and 1.86 percent respectively, the report said.

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