The unemployment rate edged down to 3.76 percent last month, ending four months of increases, as the effect of the graduation season faded and the jobless reading returned to levels that are normal for a stable economy, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The figure represented a decrease of 0.11 percentage points from a month earlier and a decrease of 0.01 percentage points from the same period a year earlier, the DGBAS said.
The unemployment rate rose 0.01 percentage points to 3.7 percent after seasonal adjustments, it added.
Unemployment was the lowest in 18 years for the month of September thanks to steady economic improvement, DGBAS Census Department Deputy Director Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨) told a media briefing.
“The job market has benefitted from an economic expansion, but its outlook depends on whether headcount demand continues to stay strong,” Pan said.
It is not clear how trade tensions between the US and China will turn out, and how they might affect the nation’s export-focused economy, Pan added.
Some local manufacturers reported increased sales last month thanks to orders diverted away from Chinese suppliers, but most manufacturers maintained a cautious business outlook.
The number of unemployed declined by 14,000 to 447,000 people, with first-time jobseekers falling by 8,000 people, the monthly DGBAS report said.
The number of people who quit jobs decreased by 4,000, while the number of people who lost jobs to seasonal hiring fell by 2,000 and those who lost jobs to business closures fell by 1,000, the report said.
University graduates had the highest unemployment rate at 5.21 percent, followed by high-school graduates at 3.63 percent and those with graduate degrees at 2.93 percent, it said.
Unemployment was highest among people aged 20 to 24 at 12.29 percent, followed by those aged 15 to 19 at 8.65 percent and those aged 25 to 29 at 6.44 percent, the report added.
The unemployment period averaged 21.7 weeks last month, 0.6 weeks longer than a month earlier, the DGBAS said, but first-time jobseekers needed more time to find positions, an average of 22.4 weeks.
The working population stood at 1.14 million people, 10,000 fewer than a month earlier due to part-time workers exiting the workplace at the end of summer vacation, it said, adding that the manufacturing, service and agricultural sectors all saw a mild decline in their payroll numbers.
Despite the improvement, Taiwan has a higher unemployment rate than major trade rivals in the region. The jobless rate is 2.8 percent in Hong Kong, 2.4 percent in Japan, and 2.1 percent in Singapore, but South Korea’s unemployment rate is 4.2 percent.
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