Exports suffer biggest decline in six years

Taiwan’s unemployment rate hits four-year high

As a result of business closures, Taiwan’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed to hit 4.27 per cent – a four-year monthly high, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting, and Statistics.

Such a rise is particularly rare in Taiwan at this time of year, due to the volume of college graduates entering industries. For the first nine months of 2008 the unemployment rate averaged 3.96 per cent, still a three-year high, up 0.04 of a percentage point year-on-year.

Although Taiwan looks less likely to fall into recession than many other far-east markets, President Ma Ying-jeou has gone on the record in regional press stating he expects an "economic slowdown." The nation has one of the lowest inflation rates of all Asian countries at just below three per cent, however the average salary has only risen by 1.33 per cent, effectively meaning workers are being paid less – another contributing factor to the rising unemployment figures.

It is now estimated that 464,000 are out of work. 145,000 of those losses is said to be down to business closures.

According to the Taiwan Finance Ministry the country’s exports suffered its largest decrease in volume since 2002 during September. Year-on-year exports declined 1.6 per cent, although that figure may not necessarily represent bicycle exports.

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