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Roundup: S. Korea's jobless rate posts highest January figure in 9 years
Last Updated: 2019-02-13 17:06 | Xinhua
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South Korea's jobless rate posted the highest January figure in nine years as the elderly unemployed increased despite the government's projects to create job opportunities for the older generation, a government report showed on Wednesday.

Unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in January, up 0.8 percentage points from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. It was the highest January figure since January 2010 when the rate recorded 5 percent.

The number of those unemployed totaled 1,224,000 in January, up 204,000 from a year ago. It was higher than any January reading since January 2000.

The unemployed reduced among those in their 30s, but the readings for those in their 50s and 60s or higher gained 48,000 and 139,000, respectively.

The elderly unemployed expanded last month as the government launched projects to create job opportunities for the older generation, who rushed but failed to find a job and raised the number of the unemployed.

The official unemployment rate refers to those who are immediately available for work but fail to get a job for the past four weeks despite efforts to actively seek a job.

The so-called expanded jobless rate, which reflects labor market conditions more accurately, went up 1.2 percentage points over the year to 13 percent in January, the highest since the relevant data began to be compiled in 2015.

The expanded jobless rate among the younger generation aged 15-29 advanced 1.4 percentage points from a year earlier to 23.2 percent in January.

The expanded jobless rate adds those who are discouraged from searching a job, those who work part-time against their will to work full-time, and those who prepare to get a job after college graduation to the official jobless rate.

The higher youth unemployment rate stemmed from the higher number of college students getting a part-time job during the winter vacation and the high number of potential college graduates who were set to officially graduate in February.

Meanwhile, the number of those employed totaled 26,232,000 in January, up 19,000 from a year earlier. It was the lowest increase in five months. The government aimed to create 150,000 jobs this year.

Job creation in the health and welfare service sectors and the agriculture industry rose last month, but the number of jobs created among manufacturers tumbled 170,000 in January from a year earlier.

Employment in the manufacturing industry continued to fall since April last year. The manufacturing employment declined 127,000 in December last year.

The employment rate dipped 0.3 percentage points over the year to 59.2 percent in January.

The hiring rate gauges the percentage of working people to the working-age population, or those aged 15 or above. It is used as an alternative to jobless rate, and the government set its long-term target at 70 percent.

The number of economically inactive population rose 23,000 in January from a year earlier due to a sharp expansion in the so-called "take-a-rest" group.

The "take-a-rest" group jumped 133,000 over the year to 2,141,000 in January, the highest since relevant data began to be compiled in January 2003.

The group refers to those who replied that they took a rest during a job survey period. It is an important figure as the group can include those who are unemployed and too discouraged to search for work for an extended period of time.

Discouraged workers, who gave up efforts to seek a job because the worsened labor market conditions, grew 52,000 from a year earlier to 605,000 in January.

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