Unemployment rises in shipbuilding regions

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Unemployment rises in shipbuilding regions

The shipbuilding industry’s restructuring process is affecting employment in regions where the industry is concentrated, as more people from those areas applied for government unemployment benefits last quarter.

According to Ministry of Employment and Labor data released Tuesday, a total of 7,002 people in the southeastern city of Ulsan applied for unemployment benefits in the second quarter, 36.1 percent higher than the previous year. The city had the nation’s lowest employment rate, at 62.2 percent.

South Gyeongsang, another southeastern region where the shipbuilding industry is concentrated, saw the number of applicants grow 9.5 percent year on year to 16,059. Unemployment there rose 1 percentage point to 3.9 percent in June compared to a year ago, according to Statistics Korea.

“The data shows that a growing number of people who worked in the manufacturing sector are applying for benefits,” said Kwon Jin-ho, a director at the Ministry of Employment and Labor. “We believe that ongoing corporate restructuring in the shipbuilding industry is having an effect on this.”

The total number of Koreans who applied for benefits fell 0.7 percent compared to the previous year to record 223,801 in the second quarter. However, the number of applicants who worked in manufacturing rose 7.2 percent year on year. These 49,739 applicants accounted for 22.2 percent of the total.

According to the Labor Ministry, Jeju Island had the highest employment rate, at 72.2 percent.

While the employment rate was lowest in Ulsan, the data showed that among those with jobs, the average number of hours worked and salary were highest in the coastal city. People there worked an average of 195.1 hours and earned 4.23 million won ($3,695)per month. The nationwide average was 187.9 hours worked and 3.3 million won earned per month.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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