360,000 new workers in June a sign of progress

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360,000 new workers in June a sign of progress

The monthly growth in newly employed people posted an eight-month high, signaling improvement in the labor market.

According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance yesterday, the number of people with jobs in June stood at 25.47 million, up 360,000 from a year earlier and 69,000 from May.

The growth was led by an increased number of people in their 50s employed and new service industry jobs.

Those aged 50 to 59 accounted for 78.4 percent of the country’s workforce in the second quarter, up 64.3 percent from the fourth quarter last year.

Service businesses hired 263,000 more workers last month compared to a year earlier. More than half found jobs related to health and welfare.

The construction sector also contributed to the increase in monthly job growth as builders hired 3,000 more workers than they did in June 2012, growing for the first time in nine months.

Meanwhile, job creation in manufacturing continued falling for the third consecutive month. In June, the number of people who worked at manufacturers rose 96,000, down from 105,000 in May.

“The slowdown in job growth since late last year has begun improving and the improvement is expected to continue in the second half of the year as businesses start hiring new employees from September,” the ministry said in a report.

The employment rate for those aged 15 64, based on the OECD standard, was 65.1 percent last month, up 0.1 percentage point from May.

The number of self-employed Koreans fell last month as it has since early this year. The total number of self-employed at the end of last year was 5.71 million, or 23 percent of the nation’s workforce.

Bankruptcies of small self-employed businesses last year posed a threat to the economy as they added to the country’s growing household debt.

Still, people in their 20s had difficulty finding jobs. The number of employed twentysomethings dropped 35,000 in June, following a 53,000 decline in May. The employment rate for those between 20 and 29 has hovered around 40 percent over the past year, pulling down the overall rate.

The number of people in their 20s who managed to find jobs in January was a 30-year low of 3.53 million.

BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]
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