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April unemployment lowest in 6 years

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Thanks to the improved economy, Taiwan's unemployment rate was pegged at 3.91 percent, the lowest point in about six years, according to a report released by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) yesterday.

It was the first time for the unemployment rate to go below 4 percent since the financial crisis.

While companies usually dole out more job openings in March and April, this tendency was more obvious this year, according to the DGBAS, which adds that firms are offering better compensation in order to compete for talent.

The labor force grew to 11.04 million in April, while the retail and wholesale sector grew by more than 6,000, the highest among all industries.

The number of unemployed people in April totaled 449,000, down 14,000 from March. About 3,000 fewer people were out of work because they were unhappy with previous jobs. About 5,000 fewer people were out of work due to business contraction. There were about 2,000 fewer first-time job seekers who were unemployed.

Taiwan's job market favored better than Western nations but worse than Asian nations. The unemployment rate in other nations, from highest to lowest, according to the DGBAS, are France at 10.4 percent, Canada at 6.9 percent, Britain 6.8 percent, the U.S. 6.3 percent, Germany 5.1 percent, Japan 3.6 percent, South Korea 3.5 percent, Hong Kong 3.1 percent, and Singapore 2.1 percent.

Record Number of Job Openings: Job Bank

This upbeat atmosphere in the labor market concurred with 104 Job Bank's survey. There is currently a record high 530,000 job openings in the market, according to 104. The figure was a 17-percent growth compared with a year ago. The telecommunication and information technology manufacturing industry provided 16,089 openings, which was a 71-percent growth and the highest among all industries.

According to 104's survey, the top 10 industries that provide the most jobs in sequence are retail, food, software and Internet, semiconductor, computer and consumer electronics, wholesale, photoelectric, health care, telecommunication, and electronics parts and components.

The No. 1 retail industry had 40,536 openings, much higher than the No. 2 food industry, which had 30,032 openings.

Real Earnings Decline

Average monthly earnings (including regular and irregular earnings) in March were pegged at NT$42,710, which was a 2.3-percent growth month-on-month and a 3.18-percent growth year-on-year. Regular earnings in the month were NT$37,950.

Regular earnings between January and March averaged NT$37,808. Irregular earnings (including year-end bonuses, performance bonuses and overtime pay) in the same period averaged NT$19,774, up 14.69 percent year-on-year. An improved economy and firms doling out more bonuses contributed to the increase, the DGBAS said.

Monthly earnings between January and March averaged NT$57,582, the highest in history for this period. Real monthly earnings for the same period averaged NT$55,872, which, however, was lower than those 16 years ago. The reason is that while earnings grew 15.25 percent in the past 16 years, inflation grew 17.47 percent, resulting in a 1.89-percent decrease in real earnings, the DGBAS said.

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