Taiwan's employer business outlook for Q1 weakens: poll


Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) The business outlook for the first quarter among employers in Taiwan weakened at a time when data showed signs that the local economic recovery is slowing, according to yes123 online job bank.

The net business optimism among employers for the January-March period fell to 2.9 percent, down from 7.6 percent in a similar survey conducted over the same period last year, indicting greater caution over the business climate, the survey found.

The first quarter figure was also down from 4.6 percent from a poll conducted in the fourth quarter of last year.

The poll, which measures confidence in the economy among employers, calculates net business optimism by subtracting the percentage of employers anticipating weakness in the economy from the percentage expecting an improvement.

In the poll, 25 percent of 840 enterprise respondents said they were upbeat about the economy, while 22.1 percent said they were pessimistic, with 52.9 percent saying the economy will stay largely the same.

The figures translated into a net business upbeat outlook of 2.9 percent for the first quarter, the job bank said.

The survey highlights the business sector's worries, yes123 said, especially with global demand affected by uncertainty caused by unfavorable external factors such as trade disputes between the United States and China and rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

These negative externalities are expected to have an adverse impact on many export-oriented manufacturers, while a hike in the minimum wage three years in a row has made many employers wary, yes123 said.

In addition, a pullback in the local equity market has reined in private consumption, causing more enterprises to worry about their business, yes123 added.

However, about 88.6 percent of polled employers said they plan to hire in the first quarter, up from 86.3 percent in the previous quarter but down from 89.4 percent a year earlier, the survey showed.

The hospitality business showed the highest willingness to hire with 92.7 percent saying they wanted to recruit, followed by the retail/wholesale and trading business (91.1 percent), the information technology industry (90.9 percent), and old economy manufacturers (89.7 percent), according to the survey.

The survey, conducted from Dec. 12-26, collected 840 questionnaires with a confidence level of 95 percent, and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.38 percentage points.