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Local unemployment rate edges lower in March: gov't

TAIPEI--Taiwan's jobless rate edged lower in March largely because of a decline in the number of people laid off or who had temporary contracts terminated, government statistics showed Tuesday.

Taiwan's unemployment rate fell 0.06 percentage points from February to 4.03 percent, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

After seasonal adjustments, however, the March jobless rate rose 0.01 percentage points from a month earlier to 4.06 percent, the DGBAS said.

Taiwan's unemployment rate in 2013 was 4.18 percent, the lowest since 2008, when it was 4.14 percent.

The number of those who lost jobs because of the downsizing and closures of businesses or the termination of temporary contracts fell some 6,000 from a month earlier, DGBAS figures showed.

The number of first-time jobseekers in March also was down 1,000 from a month earlier, while the number of those who quit jobs to look for new opportunities rose 1,000 from a month earlier, the figures showed.

The number of people unemployed in Taiwan in March fell 7,000 from a month earlier and 12,000 from the same period last year to 463,000, the government agency said.

The seasonally adjusted labor participation rate for March stood at 58.55 percent, the highest for any month since December 1996, when the participation rate was 58.62 percent, the DGBAS said.

The total number of people employed in Taiwan in March rose by 8,000, or 0.08 percent, to 11.03 million, DGBAS figures showed.

Local Economy Shows Signs of Recovery

The government agency said the lower jobless rate in March was another sign that the local economy is on the road to recovery, citing the decline in the number of people laid off because of corporate downsizing and business closures during the month.

In mid-February, the DGBAS raised its forecast for Taiwan's economic growth in 2014 to 2.82 percent from an earlier estimate of a 2.59-percent rise. Taiwan's economy grew 2.11 percent in 2013.

Even with an improving economy, however, youth unemployment remained stubbornly high in March, though it did fall slightly during the month. The jobless rate in the 20-24 age bracket fell 0.15 percentage points from a month earlier and 0.12 percentage points from a year earlier to 13.23 percent.

The unemployment rate in the 25-29 age group stood at 7.01 percent in March, down 0.07 percentage points from February and also down 0.17 percentage points from the same period of last year, the statistics showed.

In the first three months of this year, Taiwan's jobless rate averaged 4.05 percent, down 0.14 percentage points from a year earlier, the DGBAS said.

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