The nation’s unemployment rate rose to a new high of 6.07 percent last month, as an extra 14,000 first-time job seekers entered the labor market and firms tightened overheads to weather the slump, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The nominal index, which has yet to factor in the impact of Typhoon Morakot, is expected to rise again next month and remain high until the economy recovers, the statistics agency said.
“The jobless rate gained 0.13 percentage points to 6.07 percent in July, the highest since the survey began in 1978,” said Liu Tian-shy (劉天賜), deputy director at DGBAS’ census bureau. “The number of people unemployed rose by 16,000 to 663,000, with 1.39 million people affected by unemployment.”
The jobless reading after seasonal adjustment stood at 6.01 percent, also the highest in 31 years, the report showed.
Liu attributed the deteriorating job market to the seasonal upsurge in the number of first-time job seekers between May and August, while companies have been conservative on personnel recruitment amid the downturn.
Liu said the typhoon would make job hunting more difficult this month and beyond.
Some 60,000 working people live in the areas hardest hit by the disaster, Liu said, putting the working population there at 20,000.
“The impact of the storm remains to be seen, depending on the pace of relief and reconstruction efforts,” Liu said. “The disaster hurt the agricultural, tourist, dining and retail sectors.”
He said unemployment would have hit 6.47 percent if the government had not hired 1.04 million people through assorted stimulus and job-creation programs.
Meanwhile, the broad unemployment measure, which refers both to the unemployed and discouraged job hunters, stood at 7.59 percent last month, the report said.
Liu said the job market would improve next month. Analysts did not share Liu’s optimism.
Jack Huang (黃蔭基), head of research at SinoPac Financial Holdings Co (永豐金控), said the unemployment reading were likely to rise for the remainder of the year after the job-creation programs had failed to keep the index under 6 percent.
“The job market will continue worsening in the coming months because of first-time job seekers and Morakot,” Huang said by telephone. “That trend, however, will not derail the economy from the road to recovery.”
Wu Chung-shu (吳中書), an economics researcher at Academia Sinica, said he was not certain that the jobless rate would fall in September.
“The nation remains in a down-cycle, though the pace of decline has eased,” Wu said.
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit