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Unemployment rate reaches 4.09 percent in February: DGBAS

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The unemployment rate climbed to 4.09 percent in February, up 0.07 percentage points from January, the Cabinet's Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS, 主計處) said yesterday.

According to DGBAS Deputy Director Lo Yi-ling (羅怡玲), the unemployment rate climbed as a result of a reduction in seasonal job opportunities and because of people leaving their posts and looking for new jobs after the Chinese New Year. Based on past experience, the unemployment rate is set to decline in March, Lo said.

The unemployed workforce totaled 470,000 in February, up 8,000 from January. The number of people who voluntarily quit their jobs grew by roughly 6,000 in February. The number of people who became unemployed due to the termination of seasonal jobs went up by about 4,000. The number of unemployed who were first-time job seekers declined by about 2,000. The number of unemployed due to business closures declined by about 1,000.

For the month of February, the higher the education level, the higher the unemployment rates. The unemployment rate of those with tertiary education is pegged at 5.03 percent. The rate is 3.53 percent for those with a junior high school education, 3.97 percent for those with a senior high education and 4.4 percent for those with a college education.

The unemployment rate declined with age, however. The rate is 12.89 percent for the 15-24 age group, 4.22 percent for the 25-44 age group and 2.24 for the 45-64 age group.

Comparison with Other Countries

Taiwan's unemployment rate is relatively low compared with western countries but relatively high compared with Asian countries.

The unemployment rates in western countries, from high to low, are 10.9 percent in France, 7.2 percent in Britain, 7 percent in Canada, 6.7 percent in the U.S. and 5 percent in Germany. In Asia, the unemployment rates are 3.2 percent in South Korea, 3.1 percent in Hong Kong and 1.8 percent in Singapore.

Real Regular Earnings Reach 15-Year Low

Average earnings (including regular and irregular earnings) hit a new record in January, pegging at NT$88,285, which was a 47.13 percent increase year-on-year. The significant rise was due to companies paying out generous year-end and performance-based bonuses, which are considered part of irregular earnings.

Regular earnings in January were pegged at NT$37,938, up 0.31 percent month-on-month and 1.21 percent year-on-year. However, after factoring in the 0.83 percent inflation, the real regular earnings were pegged at NT$36,740, which were lower than the figure 15 years ago (NT$36,979 in 1999).

DGBAS pointed out that while regular earnings grew 16.24 percent over the past 15 years, it is still lower than the 17-percent inflation over the same period, resulting in a 0.65-percent decrease in real earnings.

According to statistics, real regular earnings grew 0.38 percent compared with a year ago, which is less than half of the 0.83-percent inflation over the same period.

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