Salaried job numbers rise in the first quarterHalf a million salaried jobs were added in the first quarter from the same period a year earlier, though many of those jobs were related to policy initiative or simply the result of a change in the classification of some workers.
According to Statistics Korea data on Thursday, the country had a total of 18.25 million salaried jobs in the first quarter, an increase of 503,000 from the first quarter in 2018, as 2.82 million new jobs were created, while 2.32 million disappeared.
Of the total number of jobs in the quarter, 67.7 percent, or 12.35 million, were sustained for a year.
The on-year increase during the January to March period was an improvement from the final quarter last year, when 359,000 jobs were added.
Salaried jobs refer to positions held by workers under state-sponsored insurance programs. The quarterly report differs from regular employment statistics as it excludes workers not enrolled in the insurance programs, such as the self-employed.
Also, the quarterly data covers the total number of jobs, while the monthly figures indicate the number of people employed.
While the headline statistic suggests a robust job market, much of the increase was concentrated in the social welfare and health care sectors and the 60-and-over age group, which tend to fall under government job programs.
Jobs in the social welfare and health care sectors increased by 173,000 from the previous year. Construction jobs fell by 56,000.
By age group, jobs for those 60 and older increased by 282,000, while jobs from those in their 40s declined by 20,000.
The statistics agency acknowledged that the figures were strongly influenced by policy factors.
“It is true that jobs are increasing due to government policy in the health care and social welfare sector,” explained Park Jin-woo, a director at the agency, adding that other policies, such as job support funds, had an influence.
In order for businesses to receive government support, workers have to be under insurance programs, which naturally induces businesses to place workers in such programs, leading to a rise in job numbers.
The statistics agency said mandatory insurance programs implemented in the second half of last year also contributed to the quarter’s job figures.
Part-time workers who worked too-few hours could previously only join state-sponsored insurance programs if the jobs paid enough to support them.
“Regardless of whether it is their livelihood or not, conditions for part-time workers have changed so that they are mandatorily in the program,” said Park.
The agency added that jobs in the wholesale and retail sectors also grew due to demand in e-commerce.
The wholesale and retail sector added 86,000 jobs on year in the quarter.
BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [email@example.com]