Tue, Feb 27, 2018 - Page 12 News List

New Year keeps unemployment rate low

RISING WAGES:The average total monthly wage in December increased 2.84% year-on-year, while the average for all of last year was NT$49,989, a real increase of 1.2%

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The unemployment rate last month stood at 3.63 percent, down 0.03 percentage points from a month earlier and the lowest in 17 years for January, as fewer people quit or lost their jobs to business downsizing or closures ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

Most Taiwanese companies distribute year-end bonuses days or weeks ahead of the Lunar New Year to share corporate profits and show gratitude to their employees.

However, the job market tends to softens after the holiday, as firms terminate temporary or seasonal positions, and people who are dissatisfied with their jobs opt to move on.

Research institutes at home and abroad expect the jobless rate to stay low this year, as the continued global economic expansion lends support to the nation’s exports, while public and private pay raises bolster private consumption.

The number of unemployed people last month declined by 3,000 to 43,000, with the number of first-time jobseekers dropping by 2,000, the DGBAS’ monthly report showed.

Meanwhile, the number of people who quit or lost jobs to business downsizing or closures fell by 1,000, while the number of people who lost their jobs due to temporary or seasonal hiring gained 1,000, it added.

The agency on Feb. 13 predicted that GDP growth would grow by 2.42 percent this year, slowing from 2.86 percent last year, due to a lack of evident technological breakthroughs.

Sales of Apple Inc’s iPhone X series have disappointed, somewhat mitigating demand for new technologies. Taiwan is home to the world’s largest contract semiconductor firms that develop high-performance chips.

The jobless reading after seasonal adjustments declined to 3.68 percent from 3.7 percent a month earlier, affirming a stable job market, the report showed.

University graduates had the highest rate of unemployment at 5.04 percent, followed by high-school graduates at 3.59 percent and those with graduate degrees at 2.81 percent, it said.

Unemployment was highest among people aged 20 to 24 at 11.65 percent, followed by the 15-to-19 age group at 7.88 percent, and those aged 25 to 29 at 6.35 percent, it said.

In related news, the total monthly wage — including bonuses and overtime pay — averaged NT$49,083 in December last year, while take-home wages stood at NT$40,557, a separate wage report showed.

The figures suggested an increase of 2.84 percent and 2.08 percent from their respective levels a year earlier.

For the whole of last year, workers earned an average of NT$49,989 in overall monthly wages, while the monthly take-home wage was NT$39,953 last year, suggesting a headline increase of 1.82 percent and a real increase of 1.2 percent after factoring in 0.62 percent inflation.

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