463,000 new jobs in September

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463,000 new jobs in September

The number of newly employed people hit 463,000 in September, the largest on-year growth in the past year and a good sign for the nation’s labor market.

In addition, for the first time in 16 months, the number of Koreans in their 20s who found jobs rose last month.

According to data released by Statistics Korea yesterday, the number of people who found jobs last month rose 463,000 from a year earlier. The growth surpassed 400,000 for two months in a row.

The total number of Koreans with jobs stood at 25.46 million. The overall employment rate for people aged 15 to 64, the OECD standard, hit 65 percent, up 0.5 percentage point from a year earlier.

The growth was led by an increase in employment for people in their 50s, the so-called baby boomers, and new jobs in the service and manufacturing sectors. Of the newly employed, 264,000 were in their 50s, boosting that group’s employment rate to 74 percent, up 1.1 percentage points from a year earlier.

The improvement in the job market for struggling twentysomethings was modest. The number of employed people in their 20s climbed by 32,000 last month, compared with the same month last year. The figure dropped by 36,000 in August, following an 80,000 decline in July.

However, the overall employment rate for people in their 20s fell to 57.3 percent, down 0.3 percentage point, due to growth in the population, the government agency said. Service industries hired 397,000 more workers last month than they did in September 2012. The manufacturing sector added 21,000 jobs, the 15th consecutive month that it did so. Employment in the construction industry also picked up slightly, with 7,000 new jobs.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said an increase in the number of jobs in the public sector, created by the government’s supplementary budget, was a major contributor to the improvement in the labor market last month. The ministry also cited temporary factors like the Chuseok holiday as a reason. Most of the Chuseok holiday last year was in early October.

“Whether the employment conditions for those in their 20s will further improve remains to be seen,” the ministry said. “Further growth in the overall employment could be limited due to both external and internal economic uncertainties.”

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

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