중앙데일리

Yoon downplays job growth

Finance minister says positive figures don’t mean crisis is over

Oct 22,2009
Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun
Improving employment figures over the past two months are insufficient to prove Korea is an exception to the bleak worldwide job picture, according to the country’s top economic policy maker.

During an inter-ministerial crisis management meeting yesterday, Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun expressed concern over the local job market.

“Despite the recent gradual economic recovery, employment conditions are not getting much better,” said Yoon. “Although the number of jobs rose in September, it only came from the public service sector while the number in the private sector retreated.”

Last week, the National Statistical Office said the number of jobs rose 71,000 last month from a year earlier, marking the second straight month of on-year increases. In August, 3,000 more jobs were created from the same month in 2008.

Thanks to trillions of won (billions of dollars) in emergency government spending, the administration, welfare and public health sectors saw an increase of around 500,000 jobs.

But the manufacturing sector bled 118,000 jobs, while the food and lodging industries and construction lost 138,000 and 75,000 jobs, respectively.

Yoon said the labor market can recover only after the global economy has had adequate time to heal. He said that will not be anytime soon.

“It will be difficult for job market conditions to return to pre-crisis levels over a short period of time even after the global economy rebounds,” he said. “There is concern that employment, a lagging indicator, will improve much later than actual economic conditions. Considering such a dim scenario, we have to steel ourselves.”

The minister said the government will see investments by public companies increased in the fourth quarter and implement state projects scheduled for early next year.

That, he said, will create the effect of front-loading spending in the fourth quarter - just as the government did in the previous quarters - to boost the economy.

Yoon also said the government would announce additional measures to improve the business environment during this year.

So far, the government has announced three sets of measures focused on deregulation and incentives.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]




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