The unemployment rate among the nation’s Aborigines has improved in the past three years since the current administration has been in office, the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) said yesterday, rebutting Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) remarks on Monday.
In a statement on National Aboriginal Day, Tsai said that since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office, the unemployment rate among Aborigines has been rising, soaring to 9 percent at one point and standing now at 7 percent.
The CIP yesterday said the statistics cited by Tsai were “inaccurate,” and that Aboriginal unemployment had dropped from 7.92 percent in December 2008 to 5.07 percent in December last year under the Ma administration.
Government statistics show that Aboriginal unemployment was 8.99 percent in 2002, and 10.33 percent in 2003 during the the DPP administration, but has improved since the Ma administration took office, the CIP said.
On its Web site, the CIP has posted statistics that show a narrowing of the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal unemployment, from 2.89 percentage points in December 2008 to 0.4 percentage points in December last year.
The gap last year was one of the smallest in recent years, the council said.
However, CIP statistics also show that Aboriginal unemployment rates were lower, at 4.27 percent, 4.36 percent and 4.62 percent, respectively, in 2005, 2006 and 2007 — the last three years of the DPP administration — before the global financial crisis in 2008 caused a surge in overall unemployment.
On its Web site, the CIP said unemployment among Aboriginal people had dropped in recent years because of policies implemented by the Ma administration, including offering short-term employment opportunities to Aborigines, providing incentives to encourage Aboriginal people to obtain technical licenses and subsidizing vocational training for Aboriginal people with financial difficulties.
Taiwan has an Aborginal population of more than 510,000, accounting for about 2 percent of its total population.
It is estimated that 47 percent of the Aborigines live in urban areas, according to the council’s Web site.