652,000 jobs added in October, though unemployment ticks up
The number of people working in Korea reached 27.7 million last month, according to Statistics Korea on Wednesday.
“The job situation in the private sector, especially the service sector, has continued to recover,” Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki commented in a social media post, adding that employment is 99.99 percent back to pre-covid levels.
The unemployment rate was 2.8 percent, up from 2.7 percent in September but down from the 5.7 percent in January, the recent high.
On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the jobless rate was 3.2 percent, higher than the forecast 3.1 percent, according to Bloomberg, which attributed the rise to people returning to the job market.
The number of unemployed was 788,000, up from 756,000 a month earlier but the third consecutive month below 800,000.
The finance minister said the country has entered the first phase of the gradual return to normalcy, and added that uncertainties in the job picture caused by social distancing guidelines will lessen.
“To help the job recovery in the private sector to gain momentum, the government will aggressively provide support,” Hong said.
The number of jobs in health and social welfare, positions heavily funded by the government, increased by 300,000, a 6.1 percent rise.
Hotels and restaurants added 22,000 jobs on year, employment increasing 1 percent year-on-year.
Hotels and restaurants have been benefiting from the government emergency relief funds and a cash-back program on credit card spending.
Eased social distancing and the annual Sale Festa could boost hotel and restaurant hiring.
In transportation and storage, 163,000 jobs were added, or 11.1 percent, as online shopping remained strong.
In manufacturing, 13,000 fewer people were employed, as supply-chain issues continued to hamper production. Total employment in manufacturing was down 0.3 percent.
Employment in wholesale and retail was down 113,000, or 3.3 percent. Increased automation, such as self-checkout, may have played a role.
In arts, sports and leisure, 26,000 fewer people were employed, a 5.2 percent drop.
In the 30s age group, 24,000 fewer people were employed, a 0.5 percent drop. Increases were reported in all other age groups.
In the 60s age group, 352,000 more people were employed, a 6.6 percent rise, the fasted increase among all age groups.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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