The statistics agency said that unemployment data have yet to reflect the current economic slowdown indicated by recent data on exports
By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporter
The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.63 percent last month, the lowest in 15 years for April, as companies increased headcounts and people dissatisfied with earlier jobs rejoined the labor force after receiving their lunar year-end bonuses, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The latest jobless figure marked a 0.28 percentage point decline from a year earlier and a 0.09 percentage point decline from March, the DGBAS said in a report, adding that unemployment after seasonal adjustments stood unchanged at 3.75 percent.
“A lagging economic indicator, the jobless rate has yet to reflect an ongoing economic slowdown indicated by disappointing export data,” DGBAS Deputy Director Lo Yi-ling (羅怡玲) said.
In addition, domestic demand — namely, private consumption and investment — is expected to underpin GDP growth this year, thanks to energy cost savings from cheaper oil prices, the statistics agency said.
The jobless rate might drop further this month from April, and edge up between next month and August due to an expected increase of first-time and part-time jobseekers over the summer vacation, Lo said.
The number of unemployed was 421,000 last month, down by 10,000 from a month earlier, the report said.
The number of people who quit their jobs increased by 4,000 last month, while people who lost their jobs due to business closures or seasonal factors increased by 2,000, the report said.
First-time job seekers also decreased by 2,000 last month.
By education breakdown, unemployment was highest among people with a university degree or higher at 4.54 percent, followed by college graduates at 3.91 percent and high-school graduates at 3.79 percent, the report said.
The 15-to-24 age group had the highest unemployment rate at 11.48 percent, compared with 3.83 percent for the 25-to-44 group and 1.9 percent for the 45-to-64 bracket, the report said.
Well-educated young job seekers continue to top the jobless population despite a record high of job openings listed on online job banks.
Online recruitment agency 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行) said the number of job openings on its Web site reached a record high of 650,000 and many employers would allow college graduate candidates to start working in July.
The job bank advised would-be job seekers to take action now rather than one month later, when competition is set to intensify.
Regular monthly wages averaged NT$38,522 in March, up 1.51 percent from a year earlier, the DGBAS said in a separate report.
Non-regular monthly wages averaged NT$43,016 in March, an increase of 0.72 percent from a year earlier, the report said.
In the first quarter, take-home wages gained 1.58 percent year-on-year to NT$38,406, a record high, the DGBAS said, adding that the figures would mark a 2.19 percent gain after adjustment for deflation.