South Korea’s job market showed little sign of improvement with year-on-year job addition hovering below 200,000 for the fifth month in a row in June - the longest job stagnation since the 2008 global financial crisis - as manufacturing sector continued to shed jobs amid increasing wages and shorter work hours.
According to employment data released by the Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of employed in June stood at 27,126,000, up 106,000 from the same month last year. The on-year growth has stayed below 200,000 since February when it recorded 104,000 - the first time to be in the 100,000 range in 21 months. The last time payroll additions were so low for this long was in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008. The year-on-year addition had stayed below the 200,000-threshold for 18 months straight until February 2010.
The manufacturing sector shed 126,000 jobs in June, the third straight month to lose jobs and the largest loss since January last year. The downfall mainly came from the transportation sector - mainly automobile and shipbuilding amid ongoing streamlining due to poor demand - as well as clothes manufacturing, said the statistics bureau.
The number of jobs in the education service industry was down by 107,000 against a year ago, and industrial equipment leasing and management service sector 46,000. The wholesale/retail sector lost 31,000 jobs on year and extended the downtrend for the seventh month in a row. The services industry losses coincide with the 16.4 percent jump in the minimum wage in January.
Health and social welfare, public sector, and finance and insurance sectors all recorded gains against a year ago.
The number of self-employed fell 15,000 against a year ago.
The employment rate in June, as a result, slipped 0.1 percentage point on year to 61.4 percent. The employment rate of people aged between 15 and 64, the standard of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, fell 0.1 percentage point on year to 67.0 percent.
The number of unemployed came at 1,034,000, down 26,000 from a year earlier.
The jobless rate edged down 0.1 percentage point on year to 3.7 percent. The unemployment rate of the youth aged between 15 and 29 dipped 1.4 percentage points to 9.0 percent. The real youth unemployment rate that reflects the actual number of unemployed including part-time workers and people in between jobs seeking full-time employment fell 0.5 percentage point on year to 22.9 percent.
By Lee Yu-sup and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]