South Korea’s payroll data showed an improvement in May with the employment rate up 0.3 percentage point from a year earlier to 61.3 percent, the highest since the data has been kept record in June 1999, government data showed.
According to data released by the Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of employed people in May stood at 26,824,000, up 375,000 from the same month last year. The on-year gain has slowed to dip into the 300,000 range in May after staying above the 400,000 threshold in March and April, but it has shown a steady growth of more than 300,000 for four consecutive months.
The construction, education and real estate sectors added jobs last month while the transport, manufacturing and financial industries shed jobs.
Factory payroll lost 25,000 in May, extending the downward trend for the 11th straight month since July 2016, but the drop has been slowing down each month.
Amid ongoing restructuring in overcapacity industries, the number of the self-employed increased 51,000 from a year ago. The figure has been on a rise for 10 months in a row, but the gaining pace has been tapering off.
The employment rate of people aged between 15 and 64, the standard of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), rose 0.7 percentage point on year to 67.0 percent.
The number of the unemployed decreased 2,000 from a year ago to 1,003,000 in May. The jobless rate came in 3.6 percent, down 0.1 percentage point over the same period. The youth jobless rate for people aged between 15 and 29 edged down 0.4 percentage point to 9.3 percent.
By Cho Si-young
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