Job gains in June are robust, but favor elderly

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Job gains in June are robust, but favor elderly


Korea added the largest number of jobs last month since early 2018, returning to strong numbers after last year’s deep slump, although lots of jobs went to the elderly.

Statistics Korea reported Wednesday that there were 27.4 million employed people in the country last month, an increase of 281,000 from the same month a year earlier.

This is the highest number of jobs added since January 2018, when 334,000 jobs were added on year. The number of newly added jobs fell off precipitously - to as low as 5,000 jobs in July 2018 and 19,000 last January.

The latest surge, however, focused on the elderly. Some 372,000 jobs were added for people above the age of 59. Of those, 213,000 jobs were from people over 64.

The 30s and 40s age-groups - traditionally the most active in the job market - struggled. In the 30s age-group, there was a net loss of 32,000 jobs, and in the 40s age-group, a decline of 182,000 jobs from a year earlier.

The agency explained that the decline in the 40s age-group was because of the difficult job situation for the manufacturing sector.

Jobs in the manufacturing sector in June declined on year for the 15th consecutive month, declining 1.5 percent from a year earlier, which translates into a loss of 66,000 jobs.

The agency explained that the manufacturing sector was hurt by weakness in the electronic components industry, especially semiconductors.

“The number of employed continues to decline for electronic components, which includes semiconductors and electric equipment sectors,” explained Chung Dong-wook, employment statistics director at Statistics Korea. “The decline in such areas accounts for most of the [fall] in manufacturing.”

“As restructuring nears an end for autos and shipbuilding, the number of employed has grown,” added Chung.

The financial and insurance sectors lost 51,000 jobs. The agency explained that the fall was likely caused by downsizing by local banks.

The health care and social welfare sector, which includes many public sector jobs, added the largest number of jobs by sector: 125,000 from a year earlier.

The number of unemployed in June stood at 1.14 million, the highest for the month since 1999, in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.

The number of unemployed in the 15 to 29 age-group was 453,000 in June, increasing by 65,000, or 16.7 percent, from a year earlier.

The government explained that the increase was due in part to scheduling changes for regional civil service exams that were moved to June this year from May.

It said that the number of unemployed for that age-group was similar in May 2018 at 460,000.

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