SEOUL, Mar. 10 (Korea Bizwire) — Job openings in South Korea dropped to an 88-month low on the last working day of January, a clear testament to the difficulties facing people trying to find work, state statistics showed Sunday.
The Korean Statistical Information Service said that nationwide job openings for businesses with one or more employees stood at just 166,700, down a significant 39,717 positions from a year earlier.
Job vacancies checked by the information service refers to businesses posting notices seeking workers to start within a month. This is used as a measure of a labor market’s ability to absorb workers.
The drop is the sharpest since September 2011, when 60,850 positions vanished. The government findings added that from February 2018 to the first month of 2019, employment opportunities have been declining on-year, with job openings, correspondingly, falling to the lowest levels in some seven years.
The generally weak numbers, even acknowledging the limits of precisely checking all wanted notices, are seen as a sign of falling demand for workers, amid rising unemployment conditions.
In January, the total number of unemployed stood at a little over 1.22 million, up 204,000 from a year ago and the highest reading after the 1.23 million tallied in 2000. In terms of on-year growth in unemployment, the January figures are the sharpest spike after the 207,000 increase reported in April 2014.
“Drops in openings occur when businesses are forced to close or they just are not hiring new workers,” a researcher at the Korea Labor Institute said. The source said that the current situation is a mix of both with demand for workers just falling off.
In addition to less readily available jobs, hiring by manufacturing, that traditionally provide the best paying employment contracted the most, the latest findings showed.
The number of job openings in manufacturing stood at 35,144 in the first month of the year, down 12,761 from a year earlier. The drop is the steepest since a decline of 26,667 employment vacancies in September 2011.
Besides the manufacturing sector, jobs in the retail and wholesale sectors stood at 22,082 in January, down 11,660 from the same period in 2018 and the smallest number of monthly openings for the first month in seven years.