Furloughed workers in manufacturing sector fall in September
Taipei, Oct. 2 (CNA) The number of furloughed workers on formal unpaid leave programs in the export-oriented manufacturing sector fell below the 10,000 mark at the end of September from a month earlier as some small-sized companies ended their unpaid leave plans, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Monday.
As of Sept. 30, the number of workers placed on unpaid leave programs in the manufacturing sector stood at 9,973, down from 10,337 recorded at the end of August, while the number of employers with furlough programs rose from 295 to 302, data compiled by the MOL showed.
Wang Chin-jung (王金蓉), deputy head of the MOL's Labor Conditions and Equal Employment Division, told CNA that amid lingering global demand weakness, the number of furloughed workers in the manufacturing sector, which accounts for the majority of such workers in Taiwan, moved gradually higher in the first half of this year from about 5,000 seen at the end of January.
The number fell in September, Wang said, adding that it is too early to say whether such a downtrend will continue with Taiwanese exporters still feeling the pinch from the weakening global economy.
Although the MOL needs more time to observe the employment situation among local manufacturers, the ministry will convey the latest furlough data to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to allow the MOEA to provide necessary assistance to the sector, Wang said.
In the last week of September, the number of furloughed workers in the manufacturing sector rose slightly by 90 from 9,883 as of Sept. 23 as the number of workers placed on furlough in the metal and electric machinery industry rose 72 during the period, Wang said.
In addition, the electronic components industry placed an additional 61 workers on unpaid leave in the week, Wang added.
At the end of September, the number furloughed workers around Taiwan rose only 1 from Sept. 23 to 11,878, the number of employers with unpaid leave programs in place fell 10 in the week to 653, according to the MOL.
The MOL said the retail and wholesale industry in the service sector reported a fall in furloughed workers in the last week of September, down 81 from 1,034 as of Sept. 23 to 953 as of Sept. 30 on the back of solid domestic spending in the post COVID-19 era.
As of Sept. 30, the number of furloughed workers in the lodging and food/beverage industry fell from 75 to 68 in the week, while the number in the support service industry, which is comprised of travel agencies, remained unchanged at 520.
The MOL updates its furloughed worker data on the 1st, 8th, 16th and 24th of every month, and reports the number of employees companies registered with the ministry has placed on furlough.
Most of the enterprises implementing furlough programs are small enterprises that employ fewer than 50 people.
Unpaid leave programs typically last for less than three months, with employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month, according to the MOL.
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