South Korea saw the highest number of jobless last year since statistics guidelines were revised in 2000 with job additions being the lowest since the aftermath of 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
According to data released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of employed in December was tallied at 26,638,000, adding only 34,000 from the same month a year ago. For full 2018, 26,822,000 were registered employed, up 97,000 on year. The year-on-year addition was the smallest since 2009 when 87,000 jobs were lost in the wake of a global financial crisis.
The number of Koreans out of work also reached 944,000 in December, up 31,000 from a year earlier. The number of unemployed for full 2018 totaled 1,073,000, the highest number since figures can be tracked under new guidelines in 2000.
The jobless rate edged up 0.1 percent point on year to 3.4 percent in December and 3.8 percent for full 2018, while the employment rate for both December and full year inched down 0.3 percentage point and 0.1 percentage point at 60.1 percent and 60.7 percent, respectively.
By sector, the healthcare and social welfare service sector backed by government spending added 154,000 jobs in December, followed by information communication industry with 94,000 jobs and agricultural/fishery 94,000. Manufacturing, retail and business facility management and rental service industries slashed jobs.
Thinning working population, listless manufacturing sector and streamlining in services area led to the poor job data, the office said.
In coincidence with the country’s dismal job market, state subsidies for those who had lost jobs hit record 6.5 trillion won ($5.8 billion) last year, the highest-ever and a 28.5 percent jump from the previous year, according to data released by the Ministry of Employment and Labor on Monday.
By Choi Hee-seok and Lee Ha-yeon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]