TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s unemployment rate increased slightly in March due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said Wednesday.
The jobless rate showed a 0.02 percentage point rise in March from a month earlier to 3.72 percent, but after seasonal adjustments, it was 3.76 percent, a monthly increase of 0.06 percent percentage points and the highest since last May, DBGAS data showed.
In March, the number of unemployed persons in the country increased by 2,000, or 0.45 percent, from the previous month to 445,000, according to the DGBAS.
The number of workers who lost their jobs due to downsizing or closure of companies increased by 7,000 in March, while the number of employees who quit to seek other jobs decreased by 2,000, as did the number of first-time job seekers, the data showed.
The average number of unemployed persons in the first quarter of 2020 was 441,000, which represented an increase of 3,000 from the same period last year, the DGBAS said.
Meanwhile, the number of employed persons dropped in March by 10,000, or a monthly 0.09 percent, to 11.513 million, the DGBAS said.
The decrease was mainly in the service industry, which has been more heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the DGBAS said.
Due to the pandemic, more employees saw a decrease in work hours in March, with 261,000 working less than 35 hours per week, 35,000 more people than in the previous month and the highest number since the DGBAS began recording the data in January 2019.
The jobless rate among people with a university degree was 5.32 percent in March, the highest among all education groups. It was 3.42 percent among people with only a high school diploma, and 3.11 percent among those with a graduate degree, the DGBAS figures showed.
In the different age groups, the unemployment rate was highest among those aged 20-24, at 11.62 percent, and people 15-19 at 7.71 percent, the two age brackets in which there is usually a higher number of first-time job seekers, the DGBAS said.
Chen Hui-hsin (陳惠欣), deputy director of the DGBAS census department, said the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to become more obvious in April.