Job openings plunge to 7-plus-year low in January

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Job openings plunge to 7-plus-year low in January

Job openings in Korea dropped to an 88-month low on the last working day of January, a clear testament to the difficulties facing people trying to find work, state statistics showed Sunday.

The Korean Statistical Information Service said nationwide job openings for businesses with one or more employees stood at just 166,700, down a significant 39,717 positions from a year earlier.

Job vacancies counted in the survey are those posted seeking workers to start within a month. The statistic is used as a measure of the labor market’s ability to absorb workers.

The drop is the sharpest since September 2011, when 60,850 positions vanished.

According to the survey, from February 2018 to the first month of 2019, employment opportunities have been declining on year, with job openings, correspondingly, falling to the lowest levels in some seven years.

The generally weak numbers - even after acknowledging the limits of checking wanted notices - are seen as a sign of falling demand for workers, amid rising unemployment conditions.

In January, the total number of unemployed stood at a little over 1.22 million, up 204,000 from a year ago and the highest reading after the 1.23 million in 2000. In terms of year-on-year growth in unemployment, the January figures are the sharpest rise after the 207,000 increase reported in April 2014.

“Drops in openings occur when businesses are forced to close or they just are not hiring new workers,” a researcher at the Korea Labor Institute said.

The source said the current situation is a mix of both with demand for workers just falling off.

In addition to fewer readily available jobs, hiring by manufacturing, which traditionally provides the best-paying employment, contracted the most, the latest findings showed.

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