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Monday, January 30, 2023

South Korea’s unemployment rate hits a record low due to an increase in public sector and part-time workers

SEOUL-South Korea’s August unemployment rate fell to its lowest level on record, indicating that the economy is on track to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but the breakdown of data shows that the labor force in major manufacturing industries is still weak.

Data released by the Korean Statistics Bureau on Wednesday showed that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 2.8% in August, the lowest level since the release of data in June 1999, and the third consecutive month of decline. The ratio in July was 3.3%.

After 542,000 jobs were added in July, the number of employed people increased by 518,000 compared with the same period last year.

The data shows that the new jobs are mainly concentrated in the fields of health care and social services, construction, transportation and warehouses.

However, working conditions in key manufacturing industries are still weak, with employment falling to an eight-year low of 4,289,000, a decrease of 76,000 from the same period in 2020.

“Specifically, the number of jobs for car and trailer manufacturers has decreased, while the decline of jobs for textile product manufacturers has deteriorated. The employment growth of electronics-related manufacturers has also turned negative,” a statistics bureau official told reporters.

Retailers’ jobs also continued to decline, with 113,000 jobs less than the same period last year, and 38,000 jobs in accommodation facilities and restaurants.

Lee Seung-suk, a researcher at the Korea Economic Research Institute, said: “The decline in the unemployment rate is definitely a good phenomenon…but it is too early to say that the job market is recovering steadily just because the unemployment rate has fallen.”

On September 23, 2015, college students write documents at a job fair in Seoul, South Korea. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Lee added that due to the increase in employment opportunities in the government-led public, medical and social service sectors, the lack of employment growth in core manufacturing and workers in their 30s, 40s and 50s is worrying.

Those who work less than 36 hours a week, mainly in low-paid and less-than-ideal roles, have increased by 64.5% from a year ago, while those who work longer actually fell by 17.1%.

The employment prospects of South Korean young people are still worrying.

The unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 29 in August was 5.8%, but the actual unemployment rate was called the “expanded unemployment rate”-21.7% of the unemployed, part-time and temporary workers, and those who gave up looking for work or preparing for national examinations accounted for 21.7% .

As South Korea continues to fight its worst wave of COVID-19 infections, workplaces may face further pressure, and this wave of infections is caused by the more spreadable Delta variant.

The country has extended social distancing restrictions until at least October 3, as the country has stepped up vaccination before the Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as Korean Thanksgiving) next week.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has recorded a total of 275,910 infections, including 2,367 deaths. Only 40% of 52 million people are vaccinated

The Bank of Korea currently forecasts an annual unemployment rate of 3.9% this year and 3.8% next year.

By Joori Roh

Reuters

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

World Nation News Desk
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