SEJONG, Feb. 17 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s jobless rate rose sharply in January from a month earlier due to seasonal factors, a government report showed Wednesday.
The jobless rate stood at 3.7 percent last month, up from 3.2 percent in December, but 0.1 percentage point lower than the year before, according to the report by Statistics Korea.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate, on the other hand, moved unchanged at 3.5 percent from a month ago.
The unemployment rate for those between 15 and 29 jumped to a seven-month high of 9.5 percent last month from 8.4 percent tallied in December. The figure also added 0.3 percentage point from 9.2 percent a year earlier.
The number of employed people reached 25.4 million last month, with 339,000 new jobs being created compared with the year before, the report showed. The increase in jobs is the lowest in 11 months.
The country’s employment rate marked 58.8 percent, up 0.1 percentage point over the cited period, with the number of economically active people rising 1.3 percent on-year to 26.4 million in January.
Statistics Korea said the cold weather prevented the agriculture and fishery sectors from hiring more people in January, compared with the exceptionally warm weather in December.
“An average 337,000 new jobs were created every month in 2015. The January’s figure is within the range,” said Sim Won-bo, head of the agency’s employment statistics division. “An increasing number of youth have entered the job marked during the winter vacation and graduation period.”
The finance ministry said intensifying external pressure will weigh heavily on the market in the coming months, referring to plummeting exports stemming from flaccid global demand.
“Employment is expected to be on a steady rise in the future, but rising uncertainties will likely drag down the upbeat trend,” the ministry said in a release. “The government will make concerted efforts to preemptively cope with economic change and conduct sweeping reform in the labor market.”
The Seoul government announced a stimulus package to frontload some 40 percent of its 2016 budget in the first three months in a way to help Asia’s fourth-largest economy meet the 3.1 percent growth target despite a gloomy outlook on outbound shipments and slowing domestic demand.