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Manufacturing rebound sends furloughed workers below 10,000

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A worker works in a motor factory in Kaohsiung in May.

Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) A rebounding manufacturing sector brought the number of workers on formal unpaid leave programs in Taiwan below 10,000 as of Dec. 7, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Friday.

Data compiled by the MOL showed the number of workers on unpaid leave programs dropped from 10,348 to 9,146 between Nov. 30 and Dec. 7.

Meanwhile, 60 firms brought furloughed employees back to work, reducing the number of employers with formal unpaid leave programs in place to 351, according to the MOL.

The MOL said that over 85 percent of those brought back from furlough programs worked in Taiwan's export-oriented manufacturing sector.

Speaking with CNA, Wang Chin-jung (王金蓉), deputy head of the MOL's Labor Conditions and Equal Employment Division, said firms involved in metal and electric machinery as well as light manufacturing had seen their order books rebound following a period of weak global demand.

According to Wang, the number of furloughed employees in the metal and electric machinery industry fell by 842, most of whom worked for machine tool firms and molding suppliers.

Meanwhile, 144 furloughed light industry workers were brought back from unpaid leave programs, Wang said.

Despite the rebound, the manufacturing sector still accounted for around 90 percent of those on furlough programs, the MOL said.

According to the MOL, 8,247 of the 9,146 employees still on formal unpaid leave programs worked in manufacturing.

The sector also accounted for 199 of the 351 firms with furlough schemes in place, down from 232.

With private consumption staying solid in the post-COVID-19 era, the job market of the service sector remained relatively stable, the MOL said.

Between Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, the number of furloughed workers in the retail and wholesale industry fell to 732 from 880, the MOL said.

The number of workers placed on unpaid leave in the warehousing & logistics lodging industry stayed unchanged at two, while the figure in the lodging and food & beverage industry fell to two from three, the MOL said.

In addition, the number of furloughed workers in the support service industry, which is comprised of travel agencies, rose to 61 as of Dec. 7 from 53 as of Nov. 31, according to the MOL.

The ministry updates its furloughed worker data on the 1st, 8th, 16th and 24th of every month, and reports the number of employees placed on furlough by companies registered with the MOL.

Most firms implementing furlough programs are small enterprises that employ fewer than 50 people, according to the MOL.

Unpaid leave programs typically last for less than three months, with employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month, the MOL said.

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