Protracted economic slowdown sent South Korea’s unemployment rate to a seven-year high in February as the manufacturing sector shed jobs for the eighth month in a row, government data showed Wednesday.
According to data released by the Statistics Korea, manufacturing payrolls shrank by 88,000 last month from a year ago, extending downtrend for the eighth straight month since July 2016 due to ongoing restructuring in the nation’s shipbuilding and shipping sectors.
The total employment toll added 371,000 from a year earlier to 25,788,000 in February. The on-year gain recovered to above 300,000 after declining to around 200,000 for the last two consecutive months.
The employment rate edged up 0.4 percentage point on year to 59.1 percent in February. The employment rate of people aged between 15 and 64, the standard of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), rose 0.6 percentage point to 65.6 percent over the same period.
The number of jobless people in the country increased to 1,350,000 last month, the highest for February figures since record-keeping began in 1999.
The jobless rate in February gained 0.1 percentage point from a year ago to 5.0 percent, the highest since January 2010. The figure is also the monthly highest since February 2001 when it hit 5.5 percent.
The nation’s youth jobless rate edged down 0.2 percentage point on year to 12.3 percent, the second highest since 1999.
By Kim Gyu-sik
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