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Taiwan's jobless rate up slightly at 4.24% in February (update)

Taiwan's jobless rate up slightly at 4.24% in February (update)

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) Taiwan's jobless rate in February stood at 4.24 percent, up 0.08 percentage points from a month earlier, the government said Friday. The slight rise in unemployment last month partly reflected an increase in the number of people who quit their jobs in search of better ones, and also in the number who were out of work because their temporary contracts had expired, the government said. The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said that after seasonal adjustments, the February jobless rate showed a 0.04 percentage point drop from January to 4.16 percent. Year-on-year, the February unemployment rate fell 0.01 percentage points, according to the (DGBAS) statistics. In February, a total of 483,000 people in Taiwan were jobless, an increase of 8,000 from a month earlier, the DGBAS said. It said the number of people who quit work because they were unhappy with their jobs rose 4,000 from January. Meanwhile, the number of people who were unemployed because their temporary contracts had expired increased by 3,000, the DGBAS said. The number of people who lost their jobs as a result of business downsizing and closures rose 1,000, but the number of first-time jobseekers fell 1,000, the agency said. Chen Min, deputy director of the DGBAS's Department of Census, said the higher unemployment rate in February reflected a tendency among Taiwan workers to seek new jobs ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which was celebrated Feb. 9-17 this year. The month in which the Lunar New Year holiday falls is usually a peak job-seeking period -- as is the summer vacation when many new graduates enter the job market. Chen said, however, that after seasonal adjustments, the February unemployment rate trended lower, indicating a stable job market. There is no need to worry about further deterioration of the unemployment situation, he said. The February data showed that in the 20-24 age category, the unemployment rate was 13.58 percent, up 0.36 percentage points from a month earlier, while in the 25-29 age bracket, it rose 0.21 percentage points to 7.11 percent. Among university graduates, the jobless rate was 5.29 percent, up 0.16 percentage points from the previous month and 0.05 percentage points from a year earlier, according to the data. In the first two months of this year, the average jobless rate in Taiwan fell 0.02 percentage points from a year earlier to 4.20 percent, the data indicated. (By Lin Hui-chun and Frances Huang)