Taipei--The number of furloughed workers in Taiwan fell by almost 1,000 in the first half of August as the local economy continued to recover, according to data released by the Ministry of Labor (MOL) on Wednesday.
As of August 15, the number of workers who consented to take unpaid leave dropped by 982 from two weeks earlier to 351, the MOL data showed.
In the first half of August, 12 employers implemented unpaid leave programs with the agreement of their employees, down by seven from the end of July, according to the data.
Meanwhile, seven employers terminated their unpaid leave programs in the same period, while no new employers adopted the program, the MOL added.
The government releases data on unpaid leave twice a month to provide an update on local labor market conditions.
The latest data reflected an improving domestic economy on the back of rising exports, which has boosted the local job market as exports account for about 60 percent of Taiwan's total gross domestic product (GDP).
In June, Taiwan's unemployment rate was 3.74 percent, up 0.08 percentage points from May, but down 0.18 percentage points from the same month last year. The month-on-month increase reflected an increase in the number of first-time jobseekers during the graduation season.
After seasonal adjustments, however, the June jobless rate showed a 0.01 percentage point drop from a month earlier and a 0.18 percentage points decline from a year earlier to 3.78 percent, the lowest level since August 2015 when it was 3.77 percent.
In reflection of a global economic recovery and solid global demand, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics has raised its forecast for Taiwan's 2017 GDP growth to 2.05 percent from an earlier estimate of 1.92 percent.
The MOL said that most of the companies with employees on unpaid leave are small-sized enterprises with workforces of fewer than 50 people.
All 12 employers that implemented furloughs did so after the affected employees agreed to take up to four days a month in unpaid leave for no more than three months, the ministry said.
The government has implemented a NT$20 billion (US$660 million) program to reduce the financial impact of furloughs on workers, offering training to upgrade job skills, the MOL said.
Under the program, trainees receive a stipend of NT$133 per hour to help meet their living expenses, up to a maximum of 100 hours per month, the ministry said.
Employees also have the option of taking online training courses available on the MOL's Skill Evaluation Center website, the ministry said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel