The unemployment rate last month eased to 3.66 percent, the lowest since 2001, as the job market recovered further after a COVID-19 outbreak in May, although there is still room for improvement, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
Last month’s figure was 0.17 percentage points lower than a month earlier, marking a fifth straight month of decline, DGBAS Deputy Director Chen Hui-hsin (陳惠欣) told a news conference in Taipei.
The unemployment rate is expected to decline again this month as retailers are hiring temporary staff to cash in on the holiday season, she said.
“Unemployment data nearly dropped to the level prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, but a considerable number of people are still working fewer hours,” Chen said.
The number of people who worked fewer than 35 hours per week stood at 229,000, 30,000 more than in previous Novembers, although the figure dropped by 64,000 from October, she said.
The jobless rate after seasonal adjustments stood at 3.71 percent, a decrease of 0.13 percentage points from a month earlier, the DGBAS said in a report.
The number of unemployed people totaled 436,000, a 4.38 percent decline, as people who lost jobs due to business downsizing and closures fell by 8,000, it said.
Meanwhile, the number of first-time jobseekers and people who quit their jobs both dropped by 4,000, it added.
By measure of the employed population, there were 47,000 fewer jobs available than before a level 3 virus alert was introduced in May, Chen said.
University graduates had the highest unemployment rate at 5.14 percent, followed by high-school graduates at 3.48 percent and people who completed junior high at 2.68 percent, the report found.
The unemployment rate for people with graduate degrees was 2.63 percent, the DGBAS said.
Demographically, people aged 20 to 24 had the highest unemployment rate at 12.19 percent, followed by people aged 15 to 19 at 8.62 percent and those aged 25 to 29 at 6.23 percent, it said.
The unemployment rate for people aged 30 to 39 was between 2.8 percent and 3.57 percent, while for people aged 45 to 64, it was 2.2 percent, the lowest, the DGBAS said.
However, the period of unemployment increased to an average of 20.4 weeks for all people and 23.3 weeks for first-time jobseekers, it said.
Taiwan’s headline unemployment rate is lower than Hong Kong’s 4.1 percent, but higher than Japan’s 2.7 percent and South Korea’s 2.6 percent, the DGBAS said.
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