The number of employed in South Korea increased for the second straight month. But decent-paying factory jobs fell for 10 months in a row amid ongoing restructuring in overcapacity industries and pushed up the number of self-employed as they were forced to find own means to making a living.
According to April employment data released by the Statistics Korea on Thursday, the number of employed stood at 26,577,000, up 424,000 from the same month last year. The year-on-year addition has stayed above 400,000-threshold for the second consecutive month after it had declined to around 200,000 in a December-January period and recovered to above 300,000 in February. Last time the country had on-year addition above 400,000 was between July and December 2014.
The construction sector largely attributed to the rise in April employment data by adding 161,000 jobs. Educational service and real estate sectors also contributed as they added 88,000 jobs and 87,000 jobs, respectively, while wholesale and retail jobs increased by 78,000.
Jobs at manufacturing front, however, contracted for the tenth consecutive month after losing 62,000 jobs on year amid ongoing massive restructuring in the country’s shipbuilding sector.
The number of self-employed increased 105,000 and strengthened for the ninth straight month, suggesting the middle-aged people who lost jobs due to industrial restructuring used their retirement and severance funds to open mom-and-pop stores.
The employment rate in April stood at 60.8 percent, up 0.5 percentage point from a year ago.
But the nation’s unemployment data worsened. The number of unemployed expanded 99,000 to hit 1,174,000, a historic high for April and the highest since February this year with 1,350,000. The year-on-year addition also is the largest since September last year with 120,000.
The unemployment rate reached 4.2 percent, up 0.3 percentage point. It is the largest for the month of April since 2004 with 4.5 percent.
The jobless rate for the age group of 15 to 29 rose 0.3 percentage point to 11.2 percent from a year ago period to record a historic high for April.
By Kim Gyu-sik
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]