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Job additions rebound to over 200,000 in April amid rising exports

May 17, 2024 - 09:51 By Yonhap
Jobseekers check job postings at a job fair in the southeastern city of Gyeongsan on May 10, 2024. (Yonhap)

South Korea added more than 200,000 jobs in April on the back of the marked increase in manufacturing jobs on export growth, data showed Friday.

But the number of people who remained unemployed and sought a job surged by the most in more than three years amid demographic changes, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The number of employed people came to 28.69 million last month, up 261,000 from a year earlier.

The country added more than 300,000 new jobs in both January and February, but the figure dropped to 173,000 in March, the fewest job additions since February 2021, due mainly to a high base effect and weak employment in the agricultural sector.

"The number of manufacturing jobs has advanced for five months in a row thanks to strengthening exports," said Seo Woon-joo, an official at the agency.

The manufacturing sector had 100,000 more jobs in April, marking the largest on-year gain since November 2022, when the sector added 101,000 jobs.

Exports, a key growth engine for South Korea, advanced for the seventh consecutive month in April on solid demand for semiconductors.

The health care and social welfare service sector saw 93,000 more jobs, and the information communication sector added 68,000 posts.

But the wholesale and retail field shed 39,000 positions last month, and 49,000 jobs were lost from the education service sector.

By age group, the number of jobs for those aged 15-29 dropped by 89,000, and people in their 40s also had 90,000 fewer positions last month.

But jobs for those aged 60 and older rose by 292,000 on-year, and new positions for those in their 50s grew by 16,000.

People in their 30s had 132,000 new jobs in April.

The number of self-employed people, operating businesses without employees, fell 94,000 in April, the sharpest fall in 5 1/2 years.

The employment rate of people aged 15-64 increased 0.6 percentage point on-year to 69.6 percent in April, the highest level for any April since the agency began compiling the relevant data in 1989.

The jobless rate grew 0.2 percentage point to 3 percent.

The number of people who remained unemployed and sought a job rose by 81,000 to 885,000 in April, the largest growth since February 2021.

"It was partly because of a base effect, as the number of such jobseekers had significantly declined over the past two years as the country had worked to return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic," Seo said.

The agency also pointed to demographic changes as reasons for the rising number of such unemployed people.

"We're seeing a rising population of people in their 60s, which led to the growth of both the number of newly employed people and the jobseekers among the age group," the official added.

The number of the unemployed has been on a constant increase since November last year. (Yonhap)