SEOUL, Aug. 2 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s job market recovery stalled in the first quarter of this year amid weak economic growth despite improvements in other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), data showed Tuesday.
South Korea’s employment rate for people aged 15-65 stood at 65.9 percent for the January-March period, unchanged from the three months prior, according to the OECD data cited by the Korea Institute of Public Finance.
The average employment rate for all OECD members came to 66.8 percent in the first quarter, up 0.3 percentage point from the previous quarter.
Major OECD member countries saw their figures improve. Germany’s employment rate rose to 74.4 percent in the first quarter from 74.2 percent three months earlier, with the figure for Japan also edging up to 74 percent from 73.6 percent. The United States saw its employment rate climb to 69.3 percent from 68.9 percent.
South Korea’s job market, meanwhile, is estimated to have recovered in the second half of this year. According to the latest data by Statistics Korea, the country’s employment rate amounted to 66.5 percent in June, up 0.5 percentage point from a year earlier.
However, experts fear the country’s employment rate could trend lower in the second half of this year should job cuts by ailing shipbuilders be reflected in government data.
South Korea’s major shipyards are undergoing tough restructuring, including mass layoffs and asset sales, to tide over financial hardships triggered by slumping orders and stiffer competition.
The restructuring drive comes as the South Korean economy, Asia’s fourth-largest, remains weak in the face of falling exports and stubbornly low domestic demand. The economy grew 0.7 percent in the second quarter from three months earlier and expanded 3.2 percent from a year earlier.