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Number of elderly jobless workers rising

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The number of older Taiwanese workers who are unemployed has more than doubled over the past 10 years, which indicates increased employment barriers for this group, the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said yesterday.

CLA statistics showed that 75,000 workers aged 45-64 in Taiwan were unemployed in 2007, compared with 34,000 workers in 1997.

In 2007, older employees were out of jobs for an average 28.2 weeks — 3.6 weeks more than the average unemployment period for the entire workforce, according to the statistics.

Among the 75,000 older jobless workers, 26,000 or 37.27 percent were offered employment but turned down the jobs, mainly because the pay offered was too low.

Of the remaining 44,000 workers who failed to find any employment opportunities, 59.01 percent were hampered by age restrictions set by employers, while another 18.59 percent were not equipped with the skills required by employers.

The increase in the number of older unemployed workers was also partly attributed to the aging of Taiwan's population.

The statistics revealed that there were 5.51 million people aged 45-64 in Taiwan in 2007 — up 1.8 million or 48.71 percent from 1997 — with the labor force participation rate of people in this age group averaging 60.55 percent.

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