Geoje, located in southernmost tip of the mainland, showed the highest unemployment in South Korea due to struggling shipyards. Joblessness rate will worsen at the city of Gunsan, North Jeolla, when it loses a car factory of GM Korea on top of a closure of dockyard of Hyundai Heavy Industries.
According to the Statistics Korea on Wednesday, Geoje’s jobless rate stood at 6.6 percent as of October last year, the highest among all Korean cities excluding Seoul and seven other metropolitan cities. Geoje’s unemployment rate had more than doubled from 2.9 percent six months earlier. Employment rate had plunged to 59.3 percent from 63.5 percent.
A sharp rise in jobless rate in Geoje was largely due to ongoing restructuring at the country’s shipbuilding sector that involved massive layoffs, said a Statistics Korea official.
Job conditions in Gunsan, a port city on the west coast of the country, also deteriorated severely after Hyundai Heavy Industries shut down a shipyard in the city in July last year. Gunsan’s jobless rate that had stayed unchanged at 1.6 percent between October 2016 and April 2017 shot up to 2.5 percent in October 2017. The figure is expected to go even higher as U.S. automaker General Motors Co. earlier this month announced that it will shut down its manufacturing plant in Gunsan by May.
The city with the second highest unemployment rate was Tongyeong, another southern coastal town next to Geoje with heavy dependency on shipbuilding industry. Its jobless rate came at 5.8 percent. Ansan, south of Seoul was next in line with 5.3 percent, followed by Dongduchon and Uijeongbu, both north of Seoul, with 5.1 percent each.
By Lee Yu-sup and Cho Jeehyun
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