367,000 new jobs in July, highest since last October

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367,000 new jobs in July, highest since last October

The nation’s labor market is gradually improving as the number of people who found jobs stood at 367,000 last month, the highest since last October, a government agency said.

According to data released by Statistics Korea yesterday, the number of people with jobs in July was 25.47 million, up 367,000 (or 1.5 percent) from a year earlier and 69,000 from June.

The growth was led by an increased number of employed people in their 40s and 50s and new service industry jobs.

About 285,000 people in their 50s were employed, boosting the group’s employment rate to 73.8 percent, up 1.3 percentage points from the previous month. The rate is the highest since 1992.

Among people aged 40 to 49, 31,000 people found new jobs last month, ramping up the group’s employment rate to 78.8 percent, the highest among all age groups.

Service businesses hired 283,000 more workers last month compared with a year earlier.

The construction sector hired 11,000 more workers than it did a year earlier, contributing to the monthly job growth for the second consecutive month.

Job creation in manufacturing fell for the fourth straight month. The number of people who worked in manufacturing rose 53,000, down from 96,000 in June.

“Owing to the supplementary budget for job creation and slowly improving economic indicators, the labor market has started recovering gradually,” the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said in a report. “On a quarterly basis, job growth has been improving steadily since the fourth quarter of last year.”

The employment rate for people aged 15 to 64, based on the OECD overall employment standard, was 65.1 percent last month, unchanged from June, but up 0.2 percentage point from a year earlier.

The number of self-employed Koreans kept falling last month as it has since early this year.

Still, people in their 20s had difficulty finding jobs. The number of employed twentysomethings dropped 80,000 in July, following a 35,000 decline in June. The employment rate for people between 15 and 29 stood at 40.8 percent, down 1.3 percent from the same month last year.

The ministry, however, made a positive projection that more jobs will be added in the private sector during the rest of the year, backed by the government’s efforts to promote investment and increase jobs for young people and women.

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