Employment in South Korea grew the most in 12 months, boosting expectations that the country's labor market would continue to improve, a government report showed Wednesday.
The total number of people employed increased 463,000 from a year earlier to 25.466 million in September, the highest monthly gain since September 2012 when 685,000 new jobs were created, according to Statistics Korea.
The country's job growth accelerated from 360,000 in June and 367,000 in July to 432,000 in August, topping the 460,000 level last month. The figures breached the government's monthly average target of 300,000 for 2013.
The robust job growth was attributed to the government's efforts to create jobs. "The government's employment-boosting projects started in July, and the local community's job projects began last month," the Finance Ministry said in a separate report.
The manufacturing industry created 21,000 jobs last month, keeping its growth trend for 15 straight months. The service sector employed 397,000 workers, and the agricultural industry added 26,000 laborers. Job creation in the construction sector rose 7,000 last month, turning around from a 7,000 reduction in the prior month.
Helped by the solid job creation, the hiring rate rose 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier to 60.4 percent in September. The employment rate measures the percentage of working people to the working age population, or those aged 15 and over. It is used as an alternative to the jobless rate for assessing labor market conditions.
Jobless rate fell 0.2 percentage points on-year to 2.7 percent last month due to a reduction in those unemployed. The number of unemployed, who failed to land work despite job-hunting efforts, declined 32,000 from a year ago to 720,000 in September.
The unemployment rate gauges the percentage of those unemployed who actively sought jobs over the past four weeks to the economically active population, or the sum of people employed and unemployed.
Unemployment rate among those aged between 15 and 29 jumped 1 percentage point on-year to 7.7 percent in September as the exam for public officers raised the number of job applicants among youths.
The economically inactive population, or people aged over 15 minus the economically active population, climbed by 66,000 in September after rising 53,000 in the prior month.
The so-called "take-a-rest" item, or those who replied that they took a rest during the job survey period, jumped by 93,000 last month. The item is important as it can include those who are unemployed and too discouraged to search for work for a long period of time.
Those in old age increased 39,000 on-year in September, but the number of job preparers, or those preparing for job-searching, fell 59,000. Those in housework reduced 61,000 last month.
People too discouraged to continue their search for jobs declined 20,000 in the cited period. Discouraged workers are those who want to work and available to do so, but fail to get the job due to tough labor market conditions. They are those who looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.
Those employed as a regular worker increased 597,000 in September from a year earlier, but those hired as a temporary worker and on a daily basis reduced 24,000 and 6,000 respectively.
The number of those working less than 36 hours a week surged 118,000 last month, indicating the government's efforts to reduce working hours were starting to be realized. Among them, involuntary part-time workers rose 6,000.
Involuntary part-time workers are those who want to work full time and are available to do so, but are hired part-time as their working hours are cut back involuntarily or are unable to find a full-time job.