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Private sector created least jobs in 7 yrs in 2016 amid slumping economy

The private sector created the least jobs in seven years last year amid businesses shying away from recruiting employees due to a protracted slumping economy, government data showed Monday.

The number of employees rose 242,000 in the private sector last year from the previous year, Statistics Korea data said.

Job opportunities in large corporates such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG (Yonhap)
Job opportunities in large corporates such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG (Yonhap)

The figure is the smallest since 2009 when the comparable number was minus 264,000.

Private sector employees surged gradually to 424,000 in 2011, 437,000 in 2012 and 541,000 in 2014 before falling to 358,000 in 2015.

The falling number is attributed to businesses failing to provide job openings amid growing uncertainties in domestic and global economies and the sluggish exports and domestic consumption, according to industry sources.

The total number of increased jobs was 299,000 last year, the least since 2009 when 72,000 jobs declined, according to the Statistics Korea figures.

In contrast, the public sector created 57,000 jobs last year, the second-largest amount since 2009 when the number was 192,000.

"That was due to the base effect in 2015 when the amount of public sector employees reduced greatly," a Statistics Korea official said. "Another factor was the government having launched projects to produce jobs in the public sector to counter the slumping economy."

Baek Woong-ki, a senior economist at the state-run Korea Development Institute, proposed the government focus on job training programs for the unemployed, the social safety net, and analyzing the dynamics of demography, corporate restructuring and other structural matters rather than on directly engaging in job creation. (Yonhap)

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