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The Korean flag. Photo valid for commercial use.

South Korea's employment 26,838,000, a 400 000 increase from 2019

By Xinhua Time of article published Mar 11, 2020

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SEOUL - South Korea's on-year employment growth stayed above 400,000 for the third straight month through February, statistical office data showed Wednesday.

The number of those employed totalled 26,838,000 in February, up 492,000 from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. The year-over-year job growth continued to stay above 400,000 after posting 516,000 in December last year and 568,000 in January each.

The hiring rate among those aged 15 or higher came to 60.0 percent in February. It was the highest February figure since relevant data began to be compiled in 1982.

The OECD-method employment rate for those aged 15-64 was 66.3 percent, marking the highest February reading since the data began to be compiled in 1989.

The hiring rates among those in their 20s and 40s dipped 0.8 percentage points and 0.5 percentage points each in February from a year earlier, but the rates of the other age groups gained ground last month.

The employment rate gauges the percentage of working people to the working-age population, or those aged 15 or above. Amid the aging population, it is used as an alternative to show the labor market conditions more precisely.

Jobs, created in the lodging and eatery industry, rose 14,000 in February from a year ago. It was the slowest increase in a year as consumers refrained from going outside amid fears over the soaring cases of the COVID-19 last month.

The number of infected patients here started to rise sharply from Feb. 19, topping 7,700 as of Wednesday morning.

Employment in the wholesale and retail sector tumbled 106,000 last month on a yearly basis, marking the fastest decline since August 2018.

Jobs in the transport and warehousing industry recorded the biggest monthly gain since relevant data began to be compiled in 2013. It came amid the stronger demand for delivery services as the government launched a so-called "social-distancing" campaign to discourage people from social or religious gatherings.

Employment in the education services sector retreated 10,000 last month, logging the first reduction since December 2018.

The education ministry ordered all preschools, primary and secondary schools nationwide to postpone their March openings by three weeks, while private educational institutes closed down amid worry about the coronavirus spread.

Jobs in the manufacturing industry continued to grow for two straight months, and the figure in the healthcare and social welfare services sector advanced 202,000 in the month.

The number for regular workers advanced 616,000 in February from a year earlier, but those for irregular and daily employees reduced 13,000 and 107,000 respectively.

The number of those unemployed was 1,153,000 in February, down 150,000 from a year earlier. Jobless rate declined 0.6 percentage points over the year to 4.1 percent in the month.

Unemployment rate for youths aged 15-29 slipped 0.5 percentage points to 9.0 percent.

The so-called expanded jobless rate, which reflects labour market conditions more accurately, came in at 12.3 percent in February, down 1.1 percentage points from a year ago.

The official unemployment rate refers to those who are immediately available for work but fail to get a job for the past four weeks despite efforts to actively seek a job.

The expanded jobless rate adds those who are discouraged from searching a job, those who work part-time against their will to work full-time and those who prepare to get a job after college graduation, to the official jobless rate.

The number of economically inactive population retreated 26,000 over the year to 16,708,000 last month.

The so-called "take-a-rest" group, which replied that they took a rest during a job survey period, expanded 191,000 in the month. It is considered important as the group can include those who are unemployed and too discouraged to search for work for an extended period of time.

Discouraged workers, who gave up efforts to seek a job because of the worsened labour market conditions, declined 49,000 last month.

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