Unemployment eased slightly to a seven-year low last month, as companies kept headcount steady and fewer people felt discontented with their existing job, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The latest headline jobless rate stood at 3.95 percent last month, down 0.01 percentage points from September and 0.29 percentage points from the previous year, as local manufacturers continued to benefit from an improving economy in the US, the main consumer market for Taiwanese electronic devices and components.
The job market appears healthy and stable ahead, with the unemployment reading likely to drop further, but at a mild pace, now that seasonal disruptions linked with the summer vacation have faded away, DGBAS Deputy Director Lo Yi-ling (羅怡玲) told a press briefing.
“The modest economic recovery will limit improvement in the job market,” Lo told reporters.
The seasonally adjusted jobless reading registered 3.87 percent last month, down 0.03 percentage points from the previous month, affirming the health of the local job market after removing short-term volatile noise, the DGBAS said.
The number of jobless people last month was 457,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous month, the DGBAS said. The total number of people employed last month was 11.12 million, up 21,000 from September, it said.
In the absence of any surprises, the unemployment rate may drop below the 4 percent mark for the full year for the first time since the global financial crisis struck in 2008, Lo said.
The number of people who lost their jobs to downsizing or closure decreased by 2,000 last month, while the number of first-time jobseekers fell by 1,000, the statistics agency said.
The number of people who lost seasonal or temporary jobs increased by 2,000, it added.
People with university or higher education had the highest jobless rate at 5.15 percent, followed by college graduates at 4.45 percent and high-school graduates at 3.75 percent, the DGBAS report found.
By demographic breakdown, people aged 15 to 24 had the highest unemployment rate at 13.02 percent, much higher than the 25 to 44 age group at 4.08 percent and the 45 to 64 age group at 2.04 percent, the monthly report said.
Last month, unemployment averaged 25.5 weeks, 0.4 weeks longer than the previous month, the report said.
In related news, workers earned an average of NT$44,382 (US$1,431.25) a month in September, up 2.19 percent from the same period last year, though take-home wages stood at NT$38,384 a month, the DGBAS said in a separate report.
The former figure includes year-end and mid-year bonuses.
For the first nine months, average headline wages rose to a record high of NT$48,521 a month, translating into a gain of 4.37 percent from the same period last year, the report said, adding that the real increase was 3.02 percent after factoring in inflation.
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