Job creation in South Korea slowed last month as the manufacturing industry added fewer jobs, reflecting the sluggish economy, a government report showed Wednesday.
The total number of people employed increased 265,000 from a year earlier to 25,398,000 in May after growing 345,000 in the prior month, according to the Statistics Korea. From a month before, the reading reduced 25,000.
Fewer employment among manufacturers led the overall weakness in the labor market. The manufacturing sector created 105,000 jobs in May after adding 165,000 workers in the previous month.
The service industry employed 189,000 workers last month, slightly up from a rise of 184,000 employees in the prior month. Despite the slight increase, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said in a statement that job growth in the sector trended down recently.
Reflecting the lower job growth, hiring rate fell 0.1 percentage points from a year earlier to 60.4 percent in May. 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.
"The May job growth slowed, but it should be considered that the Buddha's birthday holiday was included in the survey period of May 12-18," the Finance Ministry said.
The country's labor market conditions were improved more or less from the first quarter, but it remained to be seen whether the improving trend would continue given the weak momentum of economic recovery, the ministry noted.
The South Korean economy marked the zero-percent range growth for eight straight quarters in the first quarter, leading the finance ministry to unveil an extra budget plan worth 17.3 trillion won (15 billion U.S. dollars) along with other stimulus packages for boosting investment and job creation.
Unemployment rate, however, declined 0.1 percentage points from a year earlier to 3 percent in May. The number of unemployed, who failed to land work despite job-hunting efforts, reduced 9,000 to 797,000 last month.
The fall in the jobless rate was attributable to a rise in the economically inactive population, indicating that more people gave up seeking jobs amid the tough labor market conditions. The participation rate was 62.3 percent in May, down 0.2 percentage points from a year earlier.
The jobless rate gauges the percentage of people unemployed who actively sought jobs over the past four weeks to the economically active population, or the sum of people employed and those unemployed.
Unemployment rate among those aged between 15 and 29 fell to 7. 4 percent in May compared with 8 percent in the same month of last year.
The economically inactive population, or people aged over 15 minus the economically active population, grew by 273,000 in May from a year earlier after rising 269,000 in the prior month.
The number of job preparers, or those who prepare for job- searching, increased 20,000 in May from a year earlier. The readings for those in school, old age and housework gained by 118, 000 21,000 and 66,000 respectively.
People too discouraged to continue their search for jobs fell 15,000 over the cited period. Discouraged workers are those who want to work and available to do so, but they failed to get the job due to tough labor market conditions. They are those who looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.
The so-called "take-a-rest" time, or those who replied that they took a rest during the job survey period, gained 74,000 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 employed as a regular worker increased 661,000 in May from a year earlier, while temporary workers and those hired on a daily basis decreased 190,000 and 19,000 each.
The number of those working less than 36 hours a week increased 4.5 million in May from a year earlier. Among them, involuntary part-time workers fell 51,000 over the same period. It indicated that the government's efforts to reduce working hours started being realized.
The involuntary part-time workers are those who want to work full time and are available to do so, but they are hired part time as their working hours are cut back involuntarily or they are unable to find a full time job.