S. Korea’s jobless rate rises to 4.7 pct in February


South Korea’s jobless rate rose to 4.7 percent in February despite the increased pace of hiring, government data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign of an economic slowdown in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. The unemployment rate marked the highest level for any February since 2017, when the corresponding figure stood at 4.9 percent, according to Statistics Korea. The South Korean economy added 263,000 jobs in February from a year earlier, the biggest since January 2018, when employers added 334,000.


Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said it is a good sign that the number of newly added jobs surpassed 200,000 for the first time in 13 months, but he called for continued close monitoring until the labor market shows clear signs of improvement. The unemployment rate for young adults — those aged between 15 and 29 — stood at 9.5 percent in February, down 0.3 percentage point from the previous year. The manufacturing sector lost 151,000 jobs in February compared with the previous year, and the retail and wholesale sector also saw a reduction of 60,000 positions.


In contrast, the health and social welfare sectors added 237,000 jobs, and the information and communication sector saw an increase of 72,000 jobs last month. The statistics agency said the number of jobless people stood at 1.303 million in February, the highest level for any February since 2017 when the corresponding figure stood at 1.34 million.


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