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Taiwan unemployment increases in May (update)

2012/06/22 15:20:40

Taipei, June 22 (CNA) Unemployment in Taiwan rose slightly in May as university graduates entered the job market, according to data released Friday by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

The unemployment rate in May was 4.12 percent, an increase of 0.02 percentage points from the previous month, but 0.15 percentage points lower year-on-year, the DGBAS reported.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 4.25 percent, the data shows, representing a 0.06 percentage point increase from the previous month but 0.16 percentage points below the figure for May 2011, the statistics show.

A total of 10.83 million people had jobs in May, up by 0.15 percent, or 16,000 people, from the month-earlier level, while the number of jobless rose to 466,000, up 3,000 from a month earlier, according to Chen Min, a deputy director of the DGBAS' Department of Census.

Chen predicted that the jobless rate will continue to rise in the coming months as university graduates enter the job market.

Every year, some 310,000 college students graduate in Taiwan, 40 percent of whom -- about 120,000 to 130,000 people -- enter the job market, she said.

Although the labor market has been expanding since February, the growth in number of new jobs was "limited," compared with the same period in previous years, said Chen.

If uncertainty in the global economy continues, the local unemployment rate might keep rising, she warned.

The average jobless rate in the January-May period fell by 0.31 percentage points to 4.17 percent from the same period of last year, according to the statistics.

Meanwhile, the regular monthly salary in April averaged NT$37,410 (US$1,250), up 1.95 percent from a year ago, while the total monthly salary, including bonuses and overtime pay, averaged NT$41,453, up 1.7 percent year-on-year, according to the figures.

The average salary in the January-April period, inflated by annual year-end bonuses, was NT$52,110, down 0.75 percent from the same period of last year.

Chen attributed the negative growth to trimmed year-end and performance bonuses due to the sluggishness of the economy over the second half of 2011.

Taking the inflation rate of 1.32 percent over the same period into calculation, salaries dropped by 2.04 percent, she said.

(By James Lee)