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(LEAD) S. Korea's jobless rate rises in May, job creation lowest in over 8 yrs

2018/06/15 09:25

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SEJONG, June 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's jobless rate rose slightly in May due to a fall in employment in the retail, manufacturing and educational service sectors, while job creation remained sluggish, government data showed Friday.

The unemployment rate stood at 4 percent last month, up 0.4 percentage point from a year earlier, marking the highest rate recorded for May in 18 years, according to the report compiled by Statistics Korea.

The number of employed people reached 27.06 million in May, up 72,000 from a year earlier, according to the data.

The unemployment rate for young adults -- those aged between 15 and 29 -- was 10.5 percent, up 1.2 percentage points from a year earlier.

The employment rate stood at 67 percent in May, unchanged from a year earlier, with the corresponding figure for young people at 42.7 percent, down 0.3 percentage point over the cited period.

The number of newly added jobs in May was the lowest since January 2010 when employment offerings declined by 10,000. Job creation has stayed slightly above 100,000 new jobs per month over the past three months.

"The number of newly added jobs in the manufacturing sector declined in the wake of corporate restructuring, and the construction sector offered fewer jobs than expected due to weather conditions," an official at the agency said.

The youth unemployment rate also continued despite a set of government efforts.

In March, the government proposed a 3.9 trillion-won (US$3.69 billion) extra budget largely to create jobs for young people, amid deepening concerns about high unemployment, which the government warned would have catastrophic consequences.

The government hopes that with the pledged support, youth unemployment could fall below 8 percent by 2021 and upwards of 220,000 jobs could be added annually through 2021.

Seoul's push comes as President Moon Jae-in has called for all-out efforts to create quality jobs for young people and warned that the high jobless numbers among young adults is a national disaster.

The proposed extra budget is the second of its kind under the Moon administration. Last year, the government got parliament to approve an 11 trillion-won supplementary budget that focused on creating quality jobs.

Jobseekers wait in line at a job fair organized by a district office in Seoul on March 29, 2018. (Yonhap) Jobseekers wait in line at a job fair organized by a district office in Seoul on March 29, 2018. (Yonhap)

sam@yna.co.kr

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