The nation’s unemployment rate last month rose for the fourth consecutive month to 4.07 percent — the highest since November 2013 — as the COVID-19 pandemic weighed on hiring activity, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) reported yesterday.
The outlook for the job market is expected to deteriorate this month and through the summer, when college graduates start to look for jobs and companies are likely to remain conservative about payroll increases amid economic uncertainty, it said.
“Although the number of people without jobs climbed, the pace somewhat flattened, indicating that the pinch of the virus outbreak is losing steam,” DGBAS Deputy Director Chen Hui-hsin (陳惠欣) told a news briefing.
Photo: Clare Cheng, Taipei Times
The unemployment rate last month increased 0.04 percentage points compared with an addition of 0.31 percentage points in April.
The latest unemployment survey, conducted between May 10 and May 16, has yet to reflect a traditional surge in first-time job seekers during the graduation season.
The jobless rate usually picks up between June and August and the DGBAS would closely monitor it, Chen said.
It takes first-time job seekers more than 27 weeks to land positions, longer than an average of 23.6 weeks for others, she said.
The jobless rate after seasonal adjustments stood at 4.16 percent, the highest since January 2014, the DGBAS said.
The total number of unemployed people grew by 5,000 to 486,000. The number of first-time job seekers fell by 2,000, but people who lost their jobs due to downsizing or closures added 8,000, slowing from an increase of 36,000 in April, the agency said.
Tourism-related sectors have seen a rapid, solid recovery after infections stabilized, Chen said.
However, the number of people who work fewer than 35 hours per week increased by 56,000 to 456,000, meaning that many workers have been furloughed, but remain on payrolls.
The employment landscape looks ominous as the government’s relief programs — mainly a 40 percent wage subsidy for companies hard hit by the pandemic — are to expire this month.
By education level, university graduates had the highest unemployment rate at 5.63 percent, followed by high-school graduates at 3.81 percent and people with graduate degrees at 3.29 percent, the DGBAS said.
People aged 20 to 24 had the highest unemployment rate at 11.66 percent, followed by the 15-19 age group at 7.72 percent, the 25-29 age group at 6.6 percent and the 30-34 age group at 3.97 percent, it said.
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