Korean Economy News
Korea’s hiring strengthens in July on improved factory activity

By Yoon Won-sup

South Korea's payroll data showed steady improvement in July with on-year gain in number of employed sustained above 300,000 threshold for the sixth straight month. Factory jobs increased second month in a row, but the service sector continued on to shed jobs due to slow pickup in domestic demand and concerns about the planned 16.4-percent hike in minimum wages.

According to July employment data released by the Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of employed stood at 26,961,600, up 313,000 from the same month last year. The year-on-year addition had slowed to dip into 301,000 in June after staying above 370,000 range since February, but marginally recovered in July.

By sector, the number of employed in construction sector and education gained by 101,000 and 88,000, respectively, against a year ago period. Employment in real estate sector also rose by 73,000 on year.

The jobs in media and information service sectors as well as in financial industries fell by 43,000 and 38,000, respectively, compared to a year earlier.

Wholesale and retail sector jobs, which take up large portion in overall job market, shrank by 12,000. Hospitality and restaurant jobs also fell by 18,000.

Thanks to strong overseas demand, factory payrolls increased for the second consecutive month, adding 50,000.

The number of self-employed rose 50,000 and strengthened for the twelfth straight month.

The employment rate in July inched up 0.3 percentage point to 61.5 percent.

The employment rate of people aged between 15 and 64, the standard of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), rose 0.5 percentage point on year to 67.2 percent.

The number of unemployed decreased 1,100 on year to 963,000 in July. The jobless rate came in 3.5 percent, unchanged from a year earlier. The youth jobless rate edged up 0.1 percentage point to 9.3 percent.

The real unemployment rate for the age under 30 that counted the individuals available for work but had not searched for a job in the last four weeks hit 22.6 percent last year, up 1.0 percentage point against a year earlier.

The on-year gain in factory jobs largely comes from sharp drop in the previous year, but strong exports are helping the manufacturing sector to recover its hiring condition, said a Statistics Korea official.

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