S. Korea's On-year Job Additions Slow in Oct. amid Uncertainties | Be Korea-savvy

S. Korea’s On-year Job Additions Slow in Oct. amid Uncertainties

Job seekers look at information at a job fair in the central city of Sejong on Nov. 8, 2022. (Yonhap)

Job seekers look at information at a job fair in the central city of Sejong on Nov. 8, 2022. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Nov. 9 (Korea Bizwire)South Korea added jobs for the 20th straight month in October, data showed Wednesday, but the growth continued to slow for the fifth month in a row as the country braces for a possible recession amid high inflation and slowed growth.

The number of employed people stood at 28.41 million last month, up 677,000 from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. It was the largest on-year growth for any October since 1999.

The October figure marked a slight drop from the on-year rise of 707,000 tallied in the previous month.

South Korea’s jobless rate fell 0.4 percentage point on-year to 2.4 percent in October, the data showed.

The new jobs were mainly created in the manufacturing, accommodation, restaurant and health care industries, apparently on the back of eased social distancing rules.

In contrast, the number of people who got new jobs in the retail and financial sectors fell over the period.

The growth was mainly led by those aged 60 and above, which accounted for a whopping 460,000 of the on-year gain. People in their 50s and 30s took up 147,000 and 61,000, respectively, the data showed.

The new job additions for those in their 20s only came to 28,000.

The latest data came as the South Korean economy faces concerns over a recession amid inflation and the U.S.’ aggressive monetary tightening.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic performance, grew 0.3 percent on-quarter in the July-September period, slowing from a 0.7 percent gain three months earlier, the central bank data showed last month.

South Korea’s on-year growth in consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, also rose 5.7 percent last month from a year earlier, picking up speed from a 5.6 percent advance in September.

“Although the number of employed people is rising, the growth has slowed,” an official from the statistics agency said.

“As there are many external factors, including borrowing costs, prices and foreign exchange rates, we need to wait and see if the trend will continue.”

The Korean won fell around 17 percent against the U.S. dollar this year, although it slightly rebounded over the recent trading sessions amid political uncertainties in the U.S. over the midterm elections.

To cope with the inflation, the Bank of Korea raised the benchmark seven-day repo rate from 2.5 percent to 3 percent last month. It is the first time in about 10 years that the rate has risen to the 3 percent range.

Meanwhile, the finance ministry said the increase in the on-year job addition may further lose steam in 2023 due to economic uncertainties and the population decline, along with a base effect.

Other potential risks for the South Korean job market include slowing exports amid sluggish global demand, it added.

Exports stood at US$52.48 billion in October, down 5.7 percent from $55.7 billion a year earlier, separate data from the trade ministry showed this month. It was the first on-year decline since the 3.6 percent drop posted in October 2020.


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