South Korea’s job growth slows for fourth consecutive month

The country’s total workforce now numbers 28.68 million, as the unemployment rate fell to 2.7% in July, the lowest recorded since 1999.
By: | August 11, 2023

South Korea’s labour market faced its fourth successive monthly deceleration in job growth during July, marking the lowest surge in employment in 29 months, according to data released by Statistics Korea. The downturn stems from lacklustre hiring in both the manufacturing and construction sectors, amplifying apprehension surrounding the nation’s economic revival.

In July, employment figures expanded by 211,000, pushing the total workforce to 28.68 million. However, this positive trend has been on the decline since April. Notably, the data also underscored the country’s unemployment rate, which diminished to 2.7% the previous month. This contraction of 0.2 percentage points signifies the lowest unemployment rate observed since June 1999.

An examination across various sectors unveiled a mixed array of outcomes. Noteworthy growth included a surge of 145,000 jobs in the welfare and social service domain, coupled with a 125,000 increase within the accommodation and restaurant sector. Additionally, the science and technology industry contributed 62,000 new positions over the specified timeframe.

However, the retail and wholesale industry reported a decline of 55,000 jobs, while the construction sector contracted by 43,000 positions due to ongoing economic deceleration. A parallel downward trajectory was witnessed in the manufacturing sector, which recorded a reduction of 35,000 positions. Meanwhile, the agricultural industry faced a decrease of 42,000 jobs.

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The employment-to-population ratio for South Koreans aged 15 to 64 exhibited an uptick of 0.5 percentage points, reaching 69.6%. This accomplishment marks the highest ratio documented since 1989. The finance ministry has also raised its annual employment projection to 320,000 new jobs per month, an increase from the preceding estimate of 100,000, reported The Korea Times