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S.Korea's unemployment tops 1 mln in January, with jobless rate at 3.7 pct
Last Updated: 2018-02-14 16:25 | Xinhua
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Unemployment in South Korea topped 1 million in the first month of this year, with the jobless rate standing at 3.7 percent, a government report showed Wednesday.

The number of those unemployed was 1.02 million in January, up 12,000 from the same month of last year, according to Statistics Korea. It surpassed 1 million in seven months, indicating the still lackluster labor market conditions.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent in January from a year earlier, but the rate for youths aged 15-29 rose 0.1 percentage point to 8.7 percent in the month.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who took office last May, vowed to make all-out efforts to create decent jobs especially for the younger generation.

Moon said in his New Year's press conference that his government's top priority will be placed on job creation. He pledged to foster growth of the economy by creating decent jobs as job creation leads to more household income and more private consumption.

The sentiment jobless rate among youths came to 21.8 percent in January, down 0.8 percentage points from a year earlier. It was the first decline in 10 months since March 2017.

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

The sentiment rate adds those who are too discouraged to seek 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 sentiment rate began to be compiled in January 2015 to more accurately reflect labor market conditions.

Employment exceeded 300,000 for the first time in four months. The number of those employed totaled 26,213,000 in January, up 334,000 from a year ago.

Manufacturers led the employment growth by hiring 106,000 more workers in January than the same month of last year. It was up from a job growth of 77,000 in December last year.

The government increased a minimum wage by a whopping 16.4 percent beginning January, but no major negative effect emerged.

The number of those hired in the lodging and eatery industries, which tend to be affected by a change in minimum wage, was 2,286,000 in January, down 31,000 from a year earlier.

It kept a downward trend for eight straight months, but the January fall was down from a job reduction of 58,000 in December last year.

Employment rate stood at 59.5 percent in January, while the OECD-method hiring rate for those aged 15-64 gained 0.7 percentage points from a year earlier to 66.2 percent in the month.

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

The economically inactive population, or those aged above 15 minus the sum of those employed and unemployed, declined 64,000 in January from a year earlier.

Those who were economically inactive for childcare and schooling reduced in the month, but the so-called "take-a-rest" group increased last month.

The group refers to those who replied that they took a rest during a job survey period. It is important 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 were too discouraged to seek a job, fell 33,000 from a year earlier to 553,000 in January.

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