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Unemployment in Taiwan down slightly in 2013

TAIPEI--Taiwan's unemployment rate stayed relatively flat in 2013, according to the latest government statistics, but there were signs of a strengthening labor market in December.

However, the jobless rate for the 15-24 age bracket rose to a four-year high of 13.17 percent, up from 12.66 percent a year ago, indicating that the younger generation was still having a hard time landing a job.

Taiwan's jobless rate for the year was 4.18 percent, down from 4.24 percent recorded a year earlier, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) announced Wednesday.

In 2013, the number of those who were out of work averaged 478,000, down 3,000 from 2012, while the ranks of the employed averaged 10,967,000, up from 10,860,000 a year earlier.

The seasonally adjusted labor participation rate was 58.50 percent in December, the highest of any month in 2013, and it stood at 58.43 percent for the year, the highest since 1996 when the labor participation rate was 58.44 percent.

While the 2013 jobless rate did not fall below 4 percent as the government had hoped, the DBGAS said that based on the expected pace of economic growth in 2014, the unemployment rate should trend lower this year and the labor participation rate should rise.

The DGBAS has forecast Taiwan's economy will grow 2.59 percent in 2014, up from an estimated 1.74 percent in 2013.

Seasonally Adjusted Jobless Rate Falls to 4.12 percent in Dec.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, Taiwan's jobless rate fell in December to 4.12 percent, 0.03 percentage points lower than in November and the lowest level of any month in 2013, according to the DGBAS figures.

A total of 469,000 people were out of work in December, down 9,000 from November and also down 8,000 from the same period of 2012, while the number of first-time jobseekers fell 5,000 from a month earlier, the DGBAS said.

During the month, the number of those who quit to look for new jobs or became unemployed on expiring temporary contracts fell 2,000 from November, while the number of those who lost jobs due to business closures or downsizing rose 1,000 from a month earlier.

Total employment increased by 10,000 in December and by 98,000 from a year earlier to 11,029,000.

Lo Yi-ling, deputy director of the DGBAS's census department, said the jobless rate of those with university degrees or above averaged 5.26 percent in 2013, down from 5.37 percent a year earlier, a sign that the job market for people with higher education backgrounds was improving.

Lo said she expected that with the local economy on the way to recovery, the job market for younger workers should get better.

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