SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea added jobs for the 19th straight month in September, data showed Friday, but the growth continued to slow for the fourth month in a row amid concerns over a recession.
The number of employed people stood at 28.38 million last month, up 707,000 from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. It was the largest on-year growth for any September since 1999.
The latest figure fell below the on-year rise of 807,000 tallied in the previous month.
“The number of employed people increased in September, but the growth has slowed,” a senior Statistics Korea official said. “Since there are so many uncertainties, it is hard to predict (until when the growth will continue).”
The finance ministry said in a statement that the monthly job data is stable, but the growth has slowed as the economy is losing steam.
The growth was mainly led by those aged 60 and above, which accounted for 451,000 of the on-year gain.
South Korea’s jobless rate, meanwhile, fell 0.3 percentage point on-year to reach 2.4 percent in September, the data showed, also the lowest for any September since 1999.
The rate among the age group from 15 to 29, however, rose 0.7 percentage point over the period to reach 6.1 percent.
The new jobs were mainly generated from the manufacturing, health care, welfare and hospitality industries, the data showed. In contrast, the number of people who got new jobs in the retail and financial sectors fell.
The latest data comes as the South Korean economy faces concerns over stagflation, a mix of slowing growth and high inflation, amid the protracted war between Russia and Ukraine that led to soaring oil and commodity prices.
In the fourth quarter, the finance ministry said inflation, rate hikes and slowed exports are likely to weigh down the job market.
South Korea’s consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, rose 5.6 percent last month from a year earlier, separate data from Statistics Korea showed earlier.
This week, the Bank of Korea also raised the benchmark seven-day repo rate from 2.5 percent to 3 percent in line with efforts to bring inflation under control. It is the first time in about 10 years that the rate has risen to the 3 percent range.
South Korea’s exports slipped 20.2 percent on-year in the first 10 days of October due mainly to sluggish overseas sales of chips.