The number of employed people in South Korea recovered at the fastest rate in 18 months last month, but the unemployment tally nevertheless hit the highest for July in 19 years.
According to data released by the Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of employed Koreans came to 27,383,000 in July, up 1.1 percent or 299,000 from a year ago. The gain was the highest since January 2018 when it reached 334,000, exceeding 200,000 for three consecutive months.
Since the beginning of the year, monthly job additions have been surpassing the 200,000 mark in every month except for January and April.
The healthcare and social welfare sector added the most number of jobs at 146,000, up 7 percent from a year earlier. The number of workers at the dining and hospitality industry also rose 4.4 percent or 101,000 thanks to the 15 percent to 20 percent increase in the number of foreign visitors.
The manufacturing sector, however, shed 94,000 jobs last month from a year ago, extending its losing streak for the 16th straight month since April 2018. The loss widened last month after a brief improvement in June after sharp fall since January.
By age group, 377,000 people aged over 60 landed a new job last month, of which people aged more than 65 amounted to 211,000. Job gains for people aged between 50 and 59 stood at 112,000 and 15 and 29 at 13,000. But the prime labor force in their 40s and 30s lost 179,000 and 23,000 jobs, respectively, marking the 22nd consecutive monthly loss since October 2017.
The employment rate for the 15- to 64-year-old age group - the standard of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - edged up 0.1 percentage point on year to 67.1 percent to show the best July number since 2017.
The number of the unemployed grew 5.6 percent from a year earlier to 1,097,000 in July, marking the highest figure for July since 1999. Unemployment rate went up 0.2 percentage point to 3.9 percent, but the pace slightly slowed down from above 4 percent gains from January to June.
By Choi Hee-seok and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]