The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) warned yesterday that unemployment may be worse than most people realize, with the actual number of people out of work more than double the official figure.
DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said the results of a recent survey conducted by the DPP showed that the country’s unemployment rate stands at 9.47 percent, with the number of unemployed workers totaling 1.25 million.
The figures are significantly higher than the data released on Jan. 22 by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), which said that the unemployment rate was 5.03 percent in December, with 549,000 people out of work, Cheng said.
The DPP survey, which questioned 1,238 people on Feb. 17 and Feb. 18, adopted the same criteria as the DGBAS to define “unemployed,” namely for respondents out of work, looking for jobs and ready to assume employment immediately, he said.
The survey found that half of the unemployed respondents lost their jobs involuntarily.
It is estimated that 590,000 people were laid off by their employers and another 130,000 first-time job seekers failed to land a job, while 520,000 gave up their jobs voluntarily, Cheng said.
Among those who still hold a job, 10 percent have had a pay cut and 4.7 percent have been forced to take unpaid leave.
The results of another DPP survey conducted on Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 among 1,140 adults showed that 63.3 percent of those who were jobless did not think government measures would help solve worsening unemployment.
Slightly more than 74 percent of the respondents said they believed the government’s economic policy only emphasized short-term goals, while 72.9 percent disagreed with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) prediction that the economy would begin to improve in the second quarter of this year.
Cheng said the poll showed that the public was pessimistic about the future of the economy and that the government had somehow misunderstood this as meaning that people want further economic integration with China.