South Korea's unemployment rate hit a three-month high in June as the prolonged downturn discouraged companies from hiring workers, according to a report Wednesday.
The report, released by the National Statistical Office, put the jobless rate at 3.9 percent in June, up from 3.8 percent in May.
Nonetheless, the number of employed persons in June rose by 4,000 from a year earlier, the first gain in seven months. In May, the year-on-year figure of employed persons showed a decline of 219,000.
As of the end of June, a total of 23.96 million people were employed while those out of work totaled 960,000, the highest level since February 2005. South Korea has a population of nearly 49 million.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rose to 4 percent in June from the previous year's 3.9 percent.
The NSO attributed the rise in employed persons to rising employment in the public sector.
South Korea announced in May that it will provide tens of thousands of temporary job positions over the next six months to stabilize the tight labor market.
Statistics show that the worst of South Korea's economic downturn might have been over.
South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, averted a technical recession in the first quarter by expanding 0.1 percent from a quarter earlier after tumbling 5.1 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
Most recently, the South Korean government recently revised up its growth outlook for this year.