July employment in Korea grows by over 800,000 on year

An applicant looks at a job posting in Daelim-dong, Seoul, on Monday. [YONHAP]

Employment in July grew by 820,000 jobs on year.

The increase comes as the economy is facing major headwinds, notably a slowing economy impacted by the sharpest inflation in 24 years, the weakening won and high energy prices resulting in trade deficits.

The number of people employed have been increasing year-on-year for 17 consecutive months, recording on-year increases of more than 800,000 for seven straight months.

According to Statistics Korea on Wednesday, in July there were 28.5 million people employed, up 3 percent compared to a year ago.

The number of people who were unemployed amounted to 836,000, down 84,000 from a year ago, a 9 percent drop.

The unemployment rate was 2.9 percent, a fall by 0.3 percentage points year-on-year and the end of a four-month streak of 3 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained the same, at 2.9 percent for the second consecutive month.

“The number of people employed increased, centered around the manufacturing industry,” said Kong Mi-sook, the statistics agency’s official. “Additionally, the decrease in the number of people unemployed and those who are inactive have also contributed to the continuing increase in employment.”

By jobs, the manufacturing industry saw the biggest increase in employment with 176,000 more compared to a year ago. This is a 4.1 percent jump.

Manufacturing jobs have been rising for nine consecutive months, and every month, the year-on-year increase has also grown.

The health and welfare service sector, which was the biggest contributor to new jobs during the previous administration, trailed behind with an increase of 130,000, up 4.9 percent, while the information and telecommunication industry had the third-largest increase with 95,000, up 10.6 percent. .

Jobs in the health and welfare sector are expected to shrink gradually considering that the government has been taking steps to move out of its self-declared emergency health crisis that included hiring an additional quarantine workforce during the pandemic.

The restaurant and hotel industry has also been showing signs of recovery with 54,000 more people employed, up 2.5 percent year-on-year.

Industries that saw a decline in jobs include the finance and insurance industry, with 21,000 fewer people working in the industry, a 2.6 percent year-on-year drop.

Wholesale and retail continued to suffer, with 10,000 less people working in the industry, down 0.3 percent year-on-year.

While regular employees saw the biggest increase, up 895,000 year-on-year, or 6 percent, the number of people who were self-employed also grew year-on-year, recovering from the social distancing restrictions implemented over the last two years due to the global pandemic.

The number of self-employed, including those who run their own stores without employees, amounted to 5.7 million, 127,000 more than a year ago and up 2.3 percent.

By age, with the exception of those in their 40s, employment grew in all age groups compared to a year ago.

The hiring of people aged 60 and older saw the biggest year-on-year increase, up 479,000 compared to a year ago.

Employment for those in their 40s, on the other hand, saw a decrease of 1,000.

However, the government projects the year-on-year job growth will slow in the coming months.

“The base effect weakening, the hike in interest rates, the resurgence of Covid-19 [variants] and the freezing confidence of businesses and households are major risks for the second half,” said a Finance Ministry official.

The Yoon Suk-yeol government’s announcement of downsizing the public sector, including its more conservative management that includes ending government-funded jobs implemented during the previous administration, is also expected to contribute to the slowing growth in jobs.

While the Finance Ministry projects the number of people employed to be 600,000 more by the end of this year, the projection for next year’s figure drops significantly to 150,000.

The Yoon government instead said it will be looking at ways to boost the private sector, which will lead to the creation of more jobs.

One of its biggest business-friendly moves is pushing to cut the corporate tax.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [[email protected]]

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