Taiwan's Unemployment Rate Heads for 4 Percent

Taiwan's unemployment rate is expected to head for a new high in May due to the economy slowdown, according to reports reaching Hong Kong from Taipei Tuesday.

Without any signs of immediate recovery for the island's economy, the jobless rate for May could break the record of the same month last year, the reports quoted Chen Jin-cherng, "deputy director of the census bureau of the directorate general of budget, accounting and Statistics" as saying.

However, Chen declined to confirm that the jobless rate would exceed 4 percent, only saying that it is "possible" to top that level from June when school graduates and people leaving the military enter the job market.

The May figures are due for release on Friday. The previous May high was 2.84 percent in 1999.

Taiwan's unemployment rate hit its highest level in nearly 16 years when it reached 3.96 percent in April.

The all-time high was 4.10 percent in August 1985.

Taiwan revised down its 2001 economic growth forecast to 4.02 percent last month after announcing first-quarter growth of 1.06 percent from a year earlier. The first quarter figure was the lowest in 26 years.

People's Daily Online --- http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/