Fri, Nov 23, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Unemployment rate rises for a second straight month

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

The unemployment rate rose for a second consecutive month to 4.33 percent last month, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

The jobless rate edged up 0.01 percentage points month-on-month and 0.03 percentage points year-on-year, it said.

“The increase in the unemployment rate was a result of the contraction in business activities and job dissatisfaction, which led some employees to resign from their jobs,” DGBAS deputy director Chen Min (陳憫) told a press conference.

However, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.3 percent last month compared with a month earlier, the DGBAS said in a report.

A total of 493,000 people were unemployed last month, an increase of 2,000 from the previous month, while the number of employed increased by 19,000 to 10,897,000 last month, up 0.17 percent from the previous month and 1.23 percent from the same period last year, DGBAS data showed.

The number of people who were laid off because business activities shrank or because their employers went out of business increased by 3,000, while the number of people who quit because of job dissatisfaction rose by 2,000.

Chen said the 0.01 percentage point increase in the unadjusted jobless rate was small compared with the 0.07 and 0.1 percentage point increases during the Internet bubble in 2001 and the global financial crisis in 2008 respectively. However, labor market conditions have yet to improve because the unemployment rate, under normal circumstances, should have decreased in September and October, she said.

“Given that the number of people laid off because of a contraction in business activities or closures increased by 1,000, 3,000, 1,000 and 3,000 separately over the past four months, we think the ups-and-downs are signs that the labor market has not turned the corner yet,” Chen said.

Henry Ho (何啟聖), a public relations director at 1111 Job Bank (1111, 人力銀行), attributed the increase in the jobless rate to weak domestic and foreign demand.

He said unemployment rates for this month and next month were expected to continue rising by 0.01 percentage points month-on-month and 0.03 percentage points year-on-year because most firms, considering year-end costs and personnel turnover rates, will wait until the first quarter of next year to recruit new employees.

National Central University economics professor Hsu Chih-chiang (徐之強) said by telephone that the government needed to accelerate industrial transformation so that “the economy will not be too dependent on foreign demand.”

The DGBAS also released its latest data on wages yesterday. The average salary was NT$37,256 in September, and NT$37,334 in the first nine months of the year, up 1.54 percent from a year ago.

However, when bonuses and other forms of compensation are included, the average monthly remuneration package in the first nine months of the year was down 0.16 percent from a year earlier at NT$46,887, mainly due to lower year-end bonuses and other incentives awarded by employers this year because of the sluggish economic recovery, the DGBAS said.

In addition, after adjusting for inflation — which climbed 1.97 percent year-on-year in the first nine months — January-to-September real wages averaged out at NT$43,103, down 2.09 percent from a year earlier and lower than NT$43,159 in the corresponding period in 1998, DGBAS data showed.

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