Taipei, Nov. 1 (CNA) The number of workers on formal furlough plans in Taiwan increased by 963 during the past week, with most of them employed in small travel agencies or the manufacturing sector, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Tuesday.
The number of workers in furlough programs reported to the ministry rose from 16,252 on Oct. 24 to 17,215, while the number of companies with unpaid leave programs rose by 127 to 2,620, MOL data showed.
Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛), director of the MOL’s Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, told CNA that the export-oriented manufacturing sector and support services industry, which is largely made up of travel agencies, remained the hardest hit.
Manufacturers, including those in the machine tool and car component sectors, have seen an upward trend in the number of furloughed workers lately due to a decline in global orders, he said.
On the other hand, the situation in the service industry — including in the tourism, lodging, dining, retail and wholesale sectors — has been improving, though some smaller travel agencies have yet to fully recover from the impact of COVID-related travel restrictions.
In contrast to the smaller players, most large-scale travel agencies have resumed normal operations after Taiwan reopened its borders to foreign visitors in mid-October and ended mandatory quarantine requirements on arrival, he said.
The service sector could see a more significant jump in demand around the New Year or Lunar New Year holiday periods, Huang said, expecting overall domestic demand to continue to pick up steam in the near future.
The MOL updates its furloughed worker data on the 1st, 8th, 16th, and 24th of every month, reporting unpaid leave numbers for companies that have registered their furlough programs with the ministry.
(By Chang Hsiung-feng and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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