Jobless rate rises to 3.2% in June
Korea's jobless rate inched up in June from a month earlier amid worries that businesses are holding back hiring due to lingering market uncertainty caused by the eurozone debt problems, a report showed Wednesday.
The jobless rate stood at 3.2 percent last month, up from 3.1 percent in May, according to the report by Statistics Korea. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 3.2 percent from a month earlier.
Job creation also decelerated, with employers adding 365,000 more jobs on-year in June compared to an on-year gain of 472,000 in the previous month.
The figure is also smaller than a year earlier when the economy generated 472,000 and is the slowest job-creating pace in nine months.
The latest employment data come as experts worry the Korean economy may be going through a slower-than-expected recovery in the face of strong headwinds from the protracted eurozone debt problems and a possible global slowdown.
Last week, Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan expressed concerns over the situations confronting the domestic economy, saying full-fledged economic recovery is being delayed.
The government recently revised down its growth outlook for this year from 3.7 percent to 3.3 percent, saying that exports could get hurt by gloomy external market conditions.
South Korea's jobless rates have been trending down in recent months after reaching 4.2 percent in February, the highest in 11 months. June's unemployment was the first on-month rise ever since.
According to the report, the health and social welfare industry provided 91,000 more jobs last month, leading the overall job creation.
The science and technology, education services and wholesale and retail sectors also offered an additional 78,000, 73,000 and 63,000 jobs, respectively.
Manufacturers, however, shed about 51,000 jobs, marking the 11th consecutive month of decline. The agriculture and fishery industry also cut 21,000 jobs over the cited period.
Employment conditions for young people remained tougher than other age groups, though their unemployment rate fell slightly from a month earlier.
The unemployment rate for those aged between 15 and 29 stood at 7.7 percent in June, down from 8 percent in May. It was slightly higher than the 7.6 percent tallied a year earlier, the report showed.
South Korea has been pushing for job creation as one of its top policy priorities especially since the domestic economy was hard-hit by the 2008 global financial crisis.
The government recently painted a relatively rosy outlook for employment conditions during the rest of this year, It expected the economy would create about 400,000 jobs this year, revising upward its earlier projection of 280,000.(Yonhap)