Tue, Sep 24, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Jobless rate rises to two-year high

PROSPECTS:The DGBAS expects unemployment to ease this month as labor demand picks up, boosted by returning firms and the high season for electronics

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s unemployment rate last month climbed to a two-year high of 3.89 percent, as an influx of new graduates continued to inflate the jobless population, but the effect is likely to fade this month, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

The figure represented an increase of 0.07 percentage points from one month earlier, or 9,000 people, the agency’s monthly report showed.

Altogether, the unemployment rate gained 0.22 percentage points from May to last month, slightly better than the growth trend of 0.23 to 0.28 percentage points in the past five years, DGBAS said.

“That affirms a stable job market amid an economic slowdown,” Census Department Deputy Director Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨) said, adding that the agency is closely monitoring developments for any signs of an unfavorable cyclical turn.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 3.73 percent, up 0.01 percentage points from a month earlier.

The total number of unemployed people rose by 9,000 to 466,000, with the number of first-time jobseekers growing 3,000, while about 4,000 people quit to look for better jobs, the report showed.

The manufacturing industry added 8,000 workers, while the service sector added 6,000 employees to meet rising business demand, the report said.

The current quarter is the high season for companies in the upstream supply chains of global smartphone and personal computer brands.

Service companies accounted for 59.55 percent of the labor force, while manufacturers made up 35.59 percent, DGBAS said.

Labor demand is expected to pick up as firms based in China move back to Taiwan to avoid heavy US tariffs on Chinese goods.

As of last week, 140 firms have filed applications, with investment pledges nearing NT$600 billion.

The investment figure is likely to swell as punitive tariffs on smartphones and laptops are due to take effect in December, giving more suppliers incentives to relocate to safeguard profit margins, government officials said.

Unemployment was highest among people aged 20 to 24 (13.05 percent), followed by those aged 15 to 19 (10.51 percent) and those aged 25 to 29 (6.71 percent), the agency said.

University graduates had the highest unemployment rate at 5.74 percent, followed by high-school graduates at 3.55 percent and those with graduate degrees at 3.11 percent, the report said.

The average unemployment period was 21.5 weeks, 0.2 weeks shorter than in July, it said.

For the first eight months of the year, unemployment rates averaged 3.87 percent, higher than 3.71 percent in the same period last year, as economic activity slowed slightly, Pan said.

In comparison, Hong Kong’s jobless rate is 2.9 percent, Singapore’s 2.2 percent, Japan’s 2.2 percent and South Korea’s 4 percent, the agency said.

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