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Taiwan reports highest unemployment rate in 10 years amid lockdown

Unemployment rate in June rose to 4.8% amid Level 3 restrictions

Taiwan reports highest unemployment rate in 10 years amid lockdown

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan in June saw its highest unemployment in more than 10 and a half years amid the Level 3 restrictions imposed to stem an outbreak of COVID cases.

The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) on Thursday (July 22) reported an unemployment rate of 4.8% in June, an increase of 0.69 points since May. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit 4.76%, representing an increase of 0.61 points from the previous month.

Both the unemployment rate and seasonally adjusted version were the highest reported since November 2010.

After managing to keep the coronavirus largely at bay for nearly a year and a half, Taiwan suddenly saw a surge in COVID cases in mid-May, prompting the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to impose Level 3 epidemic regulations.

Over the next two months, the stricter epidemic control measures managed to reduce daily confirmed cases from hundreds per day to less than 20 for five days this week. However, this partial lockdown has severely affected domestic demand.

Although restrictions had only been imposed in the latter half of May, unemployment quickly rose to 4.11% for the month, marking the highest rate seen in Taiwan since December 2013.

The unemployment rate in June was further exacerbated by a large wave of fresh high school and college graduates attempting to enter the workforce. The month of June saw a total of 570,000 unemployed workers, an increase of 81,000 over May.

In addition, there were 11.3 million people employed in June, a decrease of 97,000 from the previous month, mainly due to the lockdown's impact on the service sector, which saw a loss of 94,000 jobs.

Unemployment numbers for July could improve somewhat because the CECC relaxed a number of Level 3 restrictions on July 13. The CECC is now seriously considering lowering Level 3 restrictions to Level 2 on July 26.