The unemployment rate last month dropped 0.02 percentage points to 3.5 percent, the lowest for January in 22 years, as fewer people lost their jobs due to business downsizing or closures, although more people quit, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The rate after seasonal adjustments was unchanged at 3.6 percent, signaling a stable job market, DGBAS Census Department Deputy Director Chen Hui-hsin (陳惠欣) said.
However, there might be an uptick of resignations this month as discontented workers seek new jobs after collecting their year-end bonuses, Chen said.
“The decrease in jobless data came after the number of people who lost work due to business downsizing and closures dropped by 3,000, while people who quit added 2,000,” Chen said, citing the agency’s monthly survey.
However, the unemployment rate in the past five years picked up by 0.04 to 0.08 percentage points after the Lunar New Year holiday, she said.
Chen said that 416,000 people were unemployed — 2,000 fewer than in December last year, and down 14,000 year-on-year.
She attributed the trend to the economy emerging from a COVID-19 slump.
The number of people working part-time, or less than 35 hours per week, in December dropped by more than 30,000 from a year earlier, Chen said, adding that this evidenced the trend despite a slowdown in business at local manufacturers.
The agency would pay close attention to unfavorable changes, but the job market has so far not seen obvious negative effects of the slowdown, Chen said.
US-based tech companies, including many that rely on Taiwanese suppliers, have laid off more than 93,000 workers this year due to dim business forecasts amid economic uncertainty.
People with university degrees had the highest jobless rate of 4.94 percent, followed by high-school graduates at 3.16 percent, people with graduate degrees at 2.74 percent and junior-high school graduates at 2.44 percent, the agency said.
By demographic breakdown, people aged 20 to 24 had the highest unemployment rate of 11.39 percent, followed by the 15-to-19 age bracket at 9.04 percent, the 25-to-29 bracket at 6.25 percent and the 30-to-34 bracket at 3.74 percent, it said.
The unemployment period averaged 21.7 weeks, or 0.7 weeks shorter than in December, it said.
The survey took place before the Lunar New Year holiday, Chen said.
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