S. Korea's jobless rate rises to 3.4 pct in Jan.

By 윤민식
  • Published : Feb 13, 2013 - 09:07
  • Updated : Feb 13, 2013 - 09:07
South Korea's jobless rate rose above 3 percent in January for the first time in five months, but job growth quickened thanks in part to a hike in the manufacturing sector, a government report showed Wednesday.

According to the report by Statistics Korea, the jobless rate stood at 3.4 percent last month, up from the previous month's 2.9 percent. The rate rose above 3 percent for the first time since August.

Job creation, however, accelerated. About 322,000 jobs were created last month compared with a year earlier, up from 277,000 jobs registered in December, the report showed.

"Despite decreases in the wholesale, retail and construction sectors, increasing jobs available in manufacturing, and the health and social welfare service areas brought the on-year job creation figure back to the 300,000 range," the agency said.

The wholesale and retail sector lost 55,000 jobs in January compared with a year earlier, and the construction sector shed 48,000 jobs over the same period, the report showed.

The manufacturing sector led the overall job growth by adding 156,000 positions. The health and social welfare service sector created 105,000 jobs.

Labor market conditions for young people still remained tough, the data showed.

The unemployment rate for those aged 15-29 jumped to 7.5 percent, unchanged from the previous month. This is the highest level since last June when the rate rose to 7.7 percent.

The job report comes as South Korea's economy faces heightened uncertainty stemming from worries that the protracted eurozone debt problems and global slowdown could dampen its growth by undercutting exports.

South Korea's government earlier revised down its growth outlook for this year from 4 percent to 3 percent, saying that the outlook is a "baseline," meaning that growth could slow further into the 2-percent range.

Meanwhile, the number of people remaining out of work jumped to 847,000 in January from 737,000 in December, the report showed, pointing to the still-tough labor market conditions for people seeking jobs. The figure is slightly down from 853,000 tallied a year earlier.

"There is a tendency that the number of jobless people increases in January when recruitment and job-seeking efforts are getting bolstered especially ahead of full-fledged school graduation season," the agency explained. (Yonhap News)