Korea’s manufacturing jobs rise amid export surge

2024.01.11 15:16:01 | 2024.01.11 16:51:50

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]

As exports recover, South Korea saw an increase in the number of employed individuals in the domestic manufacturing sector in December 2023 for the first time in 12 months, with the employment rate for those aged 15 and above hitting a record of 62.6 percent.

According to employment data released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the total number of employed individuals in December 2023 was 28,093,000, up by 285,000 compared to the same month the previous year, and the number of employed individuals is currently on the rise for a 34th consecutive month.

Notably, the number of employees in the manufacturing sector increased by 10,000 to 4,498,000, the first increase in the number of manufacturing sector employees in 12 months. It is believed that the improvement in exports has led manufacturing companies to start increasing employment, with exports on an upward trend since October 2023. December exports also saw a significant 5.1 percent growth compared to the same period a year before, led by increases in ship, semiconductor, and automobile exports.

Given the time lag until the recovery in exports is reflected in employment for certain manufacturing sectors like shipbuilding and automaking, there is a possibility that the recent improvement in exports could result in additional employment growth.

The number of employed individuals also increased in the service sector, primarily in health and social care with 94,000 individuals employed, information and communication with 87,000 employed, and construction with 71,000 employed. The total number of employed individuals in 2023 was 28,416,000, an increase of 327,000 compared to the previous year.

“In 2023, the employment rate and economic activity participation rate were the highest since the relevant statistics were compiled, at 62.6 percent and 64.3 percent respectively, while the unemployment rate was the lowest at 2.7 percent, indicating a trend of steady employment,” a government official explained.

By Lee Yoon-sik and Chang Iou-chung

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