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Sat, Aug 25, 2001 - Page 18 News List

Taiwan's jobless rate rises for 10th consecutive month

CNA , TAIPEI

Newly released unemployment statistics show that jobless rates are continuing to rise in urban areas and those affected include not only workers in traditional industries, but also white-collar employees in the high-tech sector.

The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) reported Thursday that Taiwan's unemployed population reached 485,000 at the end of July, representing a jobless rate at 4.92 percent.

The jobless rate has been on the rise for 10 consecutive months and officials say more employed people are likely to lose their jobs in the coming months because layoffs are becoming more commonplace in traditional industries as well as in the high-tech sector due to the economic recession.

High-tech companies in the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park (新竹科學園區) have laid off or pensioned more than 4,000 workers since the beginning of this year. Sluggish business performance suffered by many industrial companies in the park has had an effect on satellite factories of these companies in neighboring areas.

The jobless rate in Hsinchu City in July was 4.82 percent and that of Hsinchu County was 4.19 percent, according to government statistics.

At the end of June, there were 305 industrial companies based in the Hsinchu industrial park, with seven new establishments to begin operations soon. There are 101,511 employees at these companies, a decrease of 1,330 from last year's level.

According to a DGBAS official, more factories but fewer workers seems to indicate that companies are trying to cut down on personnel expenses.

Kaohsiung city and county, which houses most of the nation's traditional industries -- petrochemicals, iron, steel and cement -- continue to lead the list of areas with high unemployment rates. The jobless rate in Kaohsiung City in July was 5.31 percent; Kaohsiung County stood at 5.15 percent.

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