Unemployment rises, snapping three-month fall

TOUGH START::With the job market flooded with graduates, average real wages hit a four-year low, while firms made cutbacks, citing a weaker economy

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 - Page 13

The unemployment rate last month snapped a three-month streak of consecutive declines, as college graduates entered the job market, boosting the number of unemployed people, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

The jobless rate last month increased to 4.14 percent from 4.06 percent in May, but still showed a decline of 0.07 percentage points compared with the same period last year, the DGBAS said in its monthly report.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate — a more accurate indicator of the long-term employment trend — also fell, shedding 0.02 percentage points from May to 4.17 percent last month, the report said.

DGBAS Deputy Director Chen Min (陳憫) attributed the month-on-month rise in unemployment to the influx of first-time jobseekers following the graduation season.

The latest data showed that 473,000 people were unemployed last month, an increase of 10,000 from the previous month, with the number of first-time jobseekers failing to receive a job offer rising by 12,000.

“A long stretch of unemployment means it may take a while for first-time jobseekers to get a job offer,” Chen said at a press conference. “So we may see the jobless rate continue its rising trend for this month and next month.”

Regis Chen (陳力孑), the head of marketing at 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行), said the online job agency’s database showed that the rise in the number of job openings in the second half of the year thus far has slowed from the first half, as more employers maintain a more cautious near-term economic outlook.

However, a number of employers said many of the job opportunities that they had made available in the first half of the year have not yet been filled, indicating that demand in the labor market may remain relatively stable despite the cautious sentiment, Chen added.

The DGBAS yesterday also published the average monthly wages of workers in the industrial and service sectors, which climbed to the highest level ever recorded reaching NT$37,583 after rising by 0.66 percent annually in the first five months of the year.

However, the overall average monthly wage, including bonuses and compensation, dropped 0.76 percent to NT$49,797 in the first five months compared with a year earlier, as employers distributed fewer bonuses because of the weak economic sentiment last year, the agency said.

After adjusting for inflation — which climbed 1.44 percent year-on-year during the same period — the real average wage, accounting for bonuses and compensation, fell 2.16 percent from the previous year to a four-year low of NT$48,725 in the five-month period, statistics showed.

The figure was lower than the NT$49,009 real average wage recorded in 1997, indicating that salaried workers are facing a tougher situation with their household finances now than they were 16 years ago.