Jobs for women and retirees rise in February

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Jobs for women and retirees rise in February

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Last month, more than 835,000 people joined the job market, the largest number in 12 years.

The improving job market is apparent proof of the effectiveness of the Park Geun-hye administration’s attempt to expand job opportunities, particularly for women and retirees.

But youth unemployment remains a stubborn problem.

According to Statistics Korea yesterday, the total number of people working in the country last month numbered 24.8 million.

The overall employment rate for Koreans between the ages of 15 and 64 added 0.1 percentage points from the previous month to reach 64.4 percent.

The Park administration’s three-year economic plan, announced at the end of February, targets an overall employment rate of 70 percent by 2017.

The last time the employment rolls saw so much growth was in March 2002 when 842,000 people joined the work force compared to a year earlier.

The hiring of women saw a sharp increase. Last month, 382,000 women were hired, which was a 3.9 percent increase year-on-year, while 453,000 males were hired, a 3.2 percent increase.

The Park administration has been urging the private sector to hire more women, especially those who took a break in their careers to get married or have children, and retired Koreans.

The nation’s largest conglomerate, Samsung Electronics, as well as leading retailers like Lotte and Homeplus, have been aggressively recruiting women and retirees by offering part-time jobs with flexible hours.

The service sector saw sharper growth in hiring than manufacturing. Last month, 135,000 people were hired by manufacturers, a 3.3 percent increase year-on-year. During the same period 110,000 people were hired in the health and social welfare service industries - 7.7 percent - while 99,000 people were hired in the education industry, a 5.9 percent increase.

The wholesale and retail industries hired 182,000 people last month, up 5 percent from a year ago, while the lodging and restaurant industries hired 146,000 people, up 7.6 percent.

But young people aged between the ages of 15 and 29 are still struggling to find jobs. The unemployment rate for young people exceeded 10 percent in February. The last time it climbed above 10 percent was in January 2000, when it hit 11 percent. The statistics office blamed graduation season, when students fresh out of college struggle to find jobs.

“Last month showed that all sectors are seeing a mild recovery in hiring,” said an official at the statistics office. “The increase in the number of people getting jobs was sharp as the job market a year ago wasn’t very good.”

BY LEE HO-JEONG [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]


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