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Debt, low wages signal rise of youth poverty: job bank

Recent college graduates in Taiwan have a lot to shoulder these days.

Survey results published by job bank yes123 Tuesday indicate that more than half have taken jobs that pay NT$22,000 per month or less, and that close to half have financial debts.

The "Youth Labor Career Outlook Survey," conducted from March 16 to 23, indicated that 52.4 percent of young wage earners had taken jobs that pay NT$22,000 or less and that the overall average monthly salary was a paltry NT$26,964.

About 47 percent of those surveyed were also in debt, with the highest reported sources including student loans, credit card debt, car payments or debts assumed for friends and family. A quarter of those in debt said that the debt payments were a substantial economic burden.

Close to two-thirds of those surveyed rated themselves as part of the "poor" socioeconomic class.

Yes123 spokesman Yang Chung-bin said that the results were indicative of the decline of the middle class.

Stagnant wages and debt mean that young people have no extra money to spend, which will have detrimental effects on the domestic market, Yang said. He urged the government to improve the wage structure, initiate industrial upgrading and provide more job training for young people.

The survey was conducted on 1,388 respondents younger than 39 years old.

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