The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.79 percent last month, the lowest December figure in 16 years, as companies increased headcount amid continued economic recovery, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said in a report yesterday.
The jobless rate might drop further this month and through the Lunar New Year holiday, ending in early next month when retailers and eateries, as well as lodging and entertainment facilities, tend to add temporary positions to meet increasing demand, the agency said.
The service industry hired 58,000 people last month, while the industrial and agricultural sectors added 8,000 and 2,000 employees respectively, the report showed.
This lowered the nation’s unemployed population by 9,000 people to 446,000 last month with the seasonally adjusted jobless rate falling by 0.02 percentage points to 3.82 percent, the report said.
For the entire last year, unemployment rate stood at 3.92 percent, 0.14 percentage points higher from a year earlier, translating into an increase of 20,000 jobless people, the report said.
DGBAS Deputy Director Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨) attributed the increase to an economic slowdown that stretched from the second half of 2015 until the first half of last year.
The nation has since emerged from the slowdown, thanks to improving external demand and stabilized crude oil prices, Pan said.
Unemployment remained high among young people with higher education last year, the report said.
The jobless rate was highest among people who have university degrees or higher at 4.84 percent, followed by people with college diplomas at 4.23 percent, it showed.
Unemployment stood at 3.9 percent for people with high-school diplomas and at 3.09 percent for people with at most a junior-high school education, it said.
The jobless rate was highest among people aged 15 to 24 at 12.12 percent, followed by the 25-to-29 age bracket at 6.76 percent, the agency said. Unemployment stood at 4.08 percent for people aged between 25 and 44 and at 2.15 percent for people aged between 45 and 64, it said.
Improved economic conditions enabled companies to increase wages, the agency said in a separate report.
Monthly take-home wages rose to NT$39,464 in November last year, up 1.62 percent from a year earlier, it said.
Including bonuses and other perks, the average monthly wage stood at NT$43,866, an increase of 3.13 percent from a year earlier, the report said.
In the first 11 months of last year, take-home wages rose 1.3 percent while the average salary rose 3.13 percent, it said.
However, both take-home and average wages declined 0.03 percent and 0.86 percent respectively after factoring in the rise in consumer prices, the agency said.
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