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More Taiwanese lose jobs as rate hits 5.75%

TAIWAN'S jobless rate hit a record 5.75 percent in February despite a multibillion dollar plan to create jobs and cushion the economic downturn, regulators said yesterday.

Of the total 624,000 unemployed workers, 53 percent lost their jobs due to company closures or layoffs.

Taiwan's electronics sector - the heart of its export-dependent economy - has been hit especially hard as demand has dropped sharply from the United States and other industrialized countries.

Labor Council Chairwoman Wang Ju-shiuan put part of the blame for the rising unemployment rate ?? up from 5.31 percent in January - on a failure to implement public works projects as scheduled.

Taiwan unveiled a NT$320-billion (US$9.5 billion) plan in early February to help create some 150,000 jobs in 2009.

Taiwan's economy shrank 8.36 percent in the final quarter last year, following a minus 1-percent drop in the third quarter.


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