SEJONG, May 11 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s jobless rate fell in April as more people were hired in the accommodation and retail sectors, but the unemployment rate for young people still remained high, a government report showed Wednesday.
The unemployment rate sank to 3.9 percent in April, from 4.3 percent in March. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate also dropped to 3.7 percent from 3.8 percent over the cited period, according to the report by Statistics Korea.
But job creation decreased from the previous month. The number of employed people stood at 26.2 million last month, up 252,000 from a year earlier. It is lower than the previous month’s 300,000 gain.
The unemployment rate for young people, aged between 15 and 29, reached 10.9 percent last month, slightly down from 11.8 percent in March. It marked the highest number for the month of April.
“It’s the recruitment season, March and April. Government exams and corporate recruitment procedures are still going on,” said Sim Won-bo, head of the agency’s employment statistics division.
“A growing number of young people are seeking jobs after graduation, pushing up their jobless rate. At the same time, their employment rate is also rising. We have to look at both sides.”
The employment rate for those aged under 30 has remained over the 41 percent line since 2013, when it bottomed at 39.7 percent. In April, it hit 41.8 percent, up from 41 percent in March.
The statistics agency said the accommodation and restaurant sector hired 2.23 million people last month, up 121,000 from 2.1 million a year ago.
The public health and education sectors also lent support to the increase in employment, it added.
Employment by the wholesale and retail sector fell 81,000 on-year to 3.7 million last month, from a year earlier, slowing down from a 142,000 on-year plunge in the previous month.
The finance ministry said the service sector led the overall increase in fresh employees amid some signs of recovery in domestic demand.
Recent data showed that the country’s retail sales gained 4.2 percent in March from a month earlier on a sharp rise in durable goods like passenger cars on the back of government-led stimulus policies like the resumption of an excise tax cut program.
Consumers’ sentiment improved from a month earlier in April, staying over the benchmark 100 level for the second consecutive month.
“The upward pace of employment will continue for a while on the government’s efforts to boost domestic demand and improve consumer sentiment,” the ministry said.