The unemployment rate, a lagging economic indicator, dropped to 4.18 percent last month — its lowest level since May last year — from 4.27 percent last month, indicating that the labor market may gradually improve, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rate dropped 0.05 percentage points from the previous month to 4.22 percent, its second consecutive month of decline, DGBAS data showed.
For the whole of last year, the jobless rate averaged 4.24 percent, marking the lowest level in four years, statistics showed. However, the jobless rate for young people aged 15 to 24 stood at 12.66 percent last year, up 0.19 percentage points from 2011.
“The number of unemployed showed a decrease last year from 2011, but the pace of the decline was slower than in previous years,” DGBAS Deputy Director Chen Min (陳憫) told a press conference.
The number of unemployed decreased by 10,000 to 477,000 last month from a month earlier, with the number of first-time job seekers and people quitting jobs amid dissatisfaction down by 5,000, the report showed.
The economy has not shown significant recovery momentum yet, but the declining trend signified the labor market may stabilize further, Chen said.
Meanwhile, the relatively conservative outlook for the economy may decrease the employee turnover rate, making employees more hesititant to transfer jobs and employers more cautious about hiring, Chen said.
However, the unemployment rate may face some upward pressure over the next two months, because it usually increases in February and March every year — the period after the Lunar New Year holidays — as many people change jobs after receiving their annual bonuses, Chen added.
Henry Ho (何啟聖), a public relations director at 1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行), shared Chen’s views, based on the rising trend in job openings in its database.
“The job market has started recovering,” Ho said, saying that job openings in the company’s database rose year-on-year rise for the third straight month last month.
Ho expected the unemployment rate to decline further this month from last month on the back of seasonal demand for part-time employees from employers in the service sector before the Lunar New Year.
The DGBAS also said that average wages for employees increased 0.64 percent in November last year from a year earlier to NT$37,305, but edged down 0.1 percent from a month ago.
For the first 11 months of last year, salaries on average grew 1.36 percent to NT$37,333. Average wages, including bonuses and compensation, dropped 0.06 percent to NT$45,721, data showed.