Job growth slows to only 256,000 new hires

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Job growth slows to only 256,000 new hires

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Korea’s job growth slowed in August with new hires crashing by half from last year, amid shrinking domestic consumption in wholesale and retail areas.

The monthly report by government-run Statistics Korea showed the number of people in work rose a mere 256,000 in August, plunging nearly by half from 594,000 in August 2014.

Since the number of new jobs hit its lowest in 26 months in April at 216,000, the monthly job growth rebounded to more than 300,000 between May and July.

Statistically, this is the worst record for August data since 2009, when there were only 3,000 new jobs recorded as the country was reeling from
the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

“A slump in wholesale and retail sales is having a significant impact [on the sluggish job market],” said Shim Won-bo, an official from Statistics Korea, at a briefing on Wednesday. “Earlier this year, we forecast the job growth would be strong in the second half, but the market isn’t going the way we
expected.”

Unusually strong growth in labor market in August 2014, with almost 600,000 new jobs recorded, was a factor for the weak growth reported this year, Shim added.

The manufacturing sector gained the strongest growth, rising 156,000, while restaurants and accommodations jumped 102,000 in new jobs on a yearly basis.

Jobs in wholesale and retail sales dropped 74,000. Finance and insurance industries fell 47,000 from a year earlier.

Overall, the employment rate inched down 0.1 percent point to 60.7 percent, while the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 3.4 percent.

The youth unemployment rate, for those aged between 15 and 29, was 0.4 percent down to 8 percent from a year earlier.


BY KIM HEE-JIN [kim.heejin@joongang.co.kr]
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