419,000 jobs added in March, unemployment dips

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419,000 jobs added in March, unemployment dips

Korea’s jobless rate decelerated in March thanks mainly to a rise in jobs in the service sector, a government report showed yesterday.

The jobless rate stood at 3.7 percent last month, down from 4.2 percent in February, according to the report by Statistics Korea.

A total of 419,000 jobs were added to payrolls in March with 24.26 million people employed in the country, the report showed. The employment rate edged up 0.3 percentage points to 58.6 percent, although the number of jobs created fell from last year’s 469,000. The number was also down from 447,000 jobs created in February.

“There was an increase in jobs created in the service sector centered around health care, welfare workers and engineers that contributed to the overall improvements in the jobless rate,” the agency said in the report.

Reflecting improvements, the seasonally-adjusted employment rate dipped to 3.4 percent from the previous month’s 3.7 percent, while the unemployment rate among young people between 15 and 29 stood at 8.3 percent, a drop of 1.2 percentage points from a year earlier.

The economically active population came to 25.21 million, up 1.2 percent from the same month last year, according to the report.

The latest job data comes as Asia’s fourth-largest economy is steadily making a comeback from sluggish growth posted in 2011 that was triggered by the euro zone debt crisis and soaring commodities prices. Korea’s economy expanded 3.6 percent last year, down sharply from 6.2 percent growth reported for 2010.

Korea posted a trade surplus of $2.33 billion in March, buoyed by a steady rise in overseas demand for locally-made cars and refined petroleum products. It was an increase from a $1.52 billion surplus tallying the previous month.

Exports that play a key role in economic growth totaled $47.36 billion last month with imports reaching $45.03 billion.

Industrial output was up a sharp 14.4 percent in February vis-a-vis the year before.

Meanwhile, the finance ministry said last month’s employment figures reflected gains in the general economy and predicted more jobs to be created in the civilian sector in April. Yonhap

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