S. Korea adds 339,000 jobs in January

South Korea’s economy added 339,000 jobs
in January, with a jobless rate posting 3.7 percent, a government report showed

The number of those employed totaled 25.445 million in January, up 339,000
from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea.

The January growth was down from a 495,000 increase in December, which marked
the largest monthly advance in 16 months. But, the January figure was relatively
positive compared with a 285,000 growth in November last year.

The moderation in hiring came from manufacturers, which posted a gain of
145,000 in employment in January. Hiring in the manufacturing industry topped
100,000 for 21 straight months.

Services industries showed a mixed picture. Restaurant and food retailers
created 81,000 jobs last month, with real estate developers and home rents
companies adding 64,000 workers. Job creation in the wholesale and retail sector
declined 125,000, with the figure in the agricultural industry sliding 74,000.

Unemployment rate stood at 3.7 percent in January, down 0.1 percentage point
from a year earlier. It posted the highest in six months, but it was a relative
low level as the jobless rate tends to stay higher during a winter season.

Hiring rate, serving as an alternative to jobless rate, reached 58.8 percent
in January, up 0.1 percentage point from a year ago. The employment rate for
those aged 15-64 increased 0.4 percentage points to 65.2 percent.

The labor force participation rate was 61.1 percent in January, up 0.1
percentage point from the same month of last year.

Youth jobless rate, which gauges unemployment rate among those aged 15-29,
advanced 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier to reach 9.5 percent in
January. It was the highest in seven months since June 2015.

Unemployed youths in South Korea are estimated to have surpassed 1 million as
companies refrain from hiring new recruits amid economic uncertainties. The
introduction of legal retirement age at 60 led senior employees to keep their
posts for an extended period of time.

The number of youths employed came in at 3.942 million in January, up 25,000
from a year earlier. The youth hiring rate gained 0.4 percentage points to 41.7
percent last month.

The so-called “sentiment” jobless rate among youths reached a 10-month high of
11.6 percent in January. The sentiment jobless rate was introduced in November
2014 to reflect jobless conditions more accurately.

The official unemployment rate gauges the percentage of those unemployed who
actively sought jobs in the past four weeks to the sum of people employed and

The sentiment jobless rate includes part-time workers who hope to get a
regular job working more than 36 hours a week and those who want to work but
reply during the job survey period that they conducted no job-searching activity
in the past four weeks.

Job growth in January was led by those in their 50s and 60s, whose employments
increased 115,000 and 194,000 respectively. About 10,000 workers in their 30s
were employed last month, but those in their 40s faced some 4,000 job losses.

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