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Taiwan unemployment rate drops
Zheng Kaifang

Taiwan’s unemployment rate continues its downward trend after reaching an all time high of 5.21 percent in August 2003. The March figure indicates an average rate of 4.45 percent and the news is good for each of the groups represented.

In the latest figures, the rate for the 15-24-year-old bracket dropped 7.48 percent from the February figure and 13.28 percent compared to the same period last year. In the 25-44-year-old group, the rate dropped 2.49 percent from the February figure and 12.2 percent compared to the same period last year. The rates for 45-64-year olds were 0.57 percent and 7.81 percent respectively. Unemployment figures improved across the board and results were even seen in the oldest age group, which has been given more attention recently.

A number of long- term programs designed to reduce the unemployment rate for older Taiwanese have started to show results. Unemployment in this group is indicative of the extent of structural unemployment and government programs aimed at improving conditions and opportunities. Most of the improvements occurred in public service, and future increases will be tied to the national development plan. The government had hoped that overall unemployment would fall below 4.5 percent by the end of 2003.

Although the timing is a few months behind schedule, the steady decrease in the figures looks as if the government’s programs are beginning to take effect.

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