South Korea’s payroll data stayed sluggish with year-on-year addition hovering below 200,000 for the third straight month in April - the longest period since the 2008 financial crisis - due to restructuring in mainstay shipbuilding and automobile sectors and reduced hiring in wholesale, retail, and restaurant categories following the hike in minimum wage.
According to employment data released by the Statistics Korea, the number of employed in April stood at 26,868,000, up 123,000 from the same month last year. The year-on-year growth stayed in the 100,000 range for three months in a row since February when it slowed down to 104,000 from 334,000 in January.
The statistics bureau said the relatively high number of 420,000 jobs added in April last year also made this year’s job market look worse.
The main culprit behind the country’s lackluster job market is the downturn in the manufacturing sector. After steadily adding jobs since June last year, the manufacturing industry suddenly shed 68,000 jobs in April. Ongoing restructuring at local shipyards and the shutdown of GM Korea’s Gunsan factory weighed on factory job data, said the statistics bureau.
The number of wholesale and retail sector jobs also contracted 61,000 on year, education service sector down 106,000, and restaurant and hotel 28,000 lower.
But health and social welfare, public sector, and finance and insurance sectors all recorded gains against a year ago.
The number of self-employed that fell during the previous two months increased 2,000 on year in April.
The employment rate in April dipped 0.1 percentage point to 60.9 percent from a year ago. The employment rate of people aged between 15 and 64, the standard of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stood at 66.6 percent, unchanged from a year earlier.
The jobless rate contracted 0.1 percentage point on year to 4.1 percent. The unemployment rate of the youth aged between 15 and 29 fell 0.5 percentage point to 10.7 percent.
By Lee Yu-sup and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]