South Korea’s job market growth slows to lowest level in two years

Job growth in South Korea hit a two-year low in January 2023 with 411,000 jobs added, marking the smallest on-year growth since March 2021.
By: | February 16, 2023

South Korea’s job market growth slowed to its lowest level in almost two years in January 2023 due to economic uncertainties and higher borrowing costs.

According to data released by Statistics Korea, the number of employed people in South Korea stood at 27.36 million in January, with only 411,000 new jobs added from a year earlier, marking the smallest on-year growth since March 2021 when 314,000 additional jobs were recorded. This also marks the eighth consecutive month of a slowdown in employment growth, despite posting growth for 23 months. 

The new figures are a drop from the 509,000 jobs created last December. The growth rate in additional jobs has been falling since reaching 935,000 in May 2022, and last month’s growth is attributed to the country’s monetary tightening move aimed at controlling inflation, which has weighed down employment as businesses and households cut their spending.

The data also showed that the unemployment rate moved down 0.5 percentage points on-year to 3.6% in January. Particularly, the unemployment rate for those aged between 15 and 29 decreased by 0.1 percentage point on-year to 5.9%.

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However, the overall growth was mainly led by people aged 60 and above, with 400,000 new jobs added to that age group. People in their 50s and 30s took up 107,000 and 27,000 of the new jobs, respectively. The number of jobs for those in their 40s and 20, on the other hand, moved down to 63,000 and 43,000, respectively, over the period, reported The Korea Herald.