SEOUL, May 15 — South Korea’s job growth slowed last month in the aftermath of the ongoing demographic change, in which the population of those in their 30s and 40s declined amid the rising population of those in their 50s or higher, a government report showed Wednesday.
The number of those employed totaled 27,038,000 in April, up 171,000 from the same month of last year, according to Statistics Korea.
It was down from the year-over-year increases of more than 200,000 in February and March, but it was higher than a growth of 19,000 in January.
The country’s slowing employment growth was driven mainly by the ongoing demographic change, stemming from the rapidly aging population and the chronically low birthrate.
The year-over-year employment among those in their 30s and 40s reduced 90,000 and 187,000 each last month as the number of populations for those in their 30s and 40s plunged 100,000 and 149,000 respectively.
The number of populations for those in their 50s and 60s or above expanded 112,000 and 539,000, respectively, in April, leading to the gains of employment by 65,000 and 335,000 each in the month.
The high growth of the elderly employment was also attributable to the government’s projects to offer jobs for the elderly people amid the social trend of population aging.
By industry, the number of jobs created in the healthcare and social welfare services sector grew 127,000 last month from a year ago, with those in the education services and the science and technology services industries rising by 55,000 and 49,000 each.
Employment among manufacturers shrank 52,000 in April from a year earlier, continuing to fall for 13 months since April last year. Job creation in the construction sector declined 30,000 last month.
The hiring rate for those aged 15 or higher came in at 60.8 percent in April, down 0.1 percentage point from a year ago. The OECD-method hiring rate for those aged 15-64 slid 0.1 percentage point to 66.5 percent.
The employment rate, often used as an alternative to jobless rate, gauges the percentage of working people to the working-age population, or those aged 15 or above.
The employment rate among those in their 60s or above gained 1 percentage point in April from a year earlier, but the readings for those in their 20s to 50s all retreated last month.
The number of those unemployed totaled 1,245,000 in April, up 84,000 from a year earlier. The unemployment rate added 0.3 percentage points to 4.4 percent in the month, marking the highest April figure in 19 years.
The so-called expanded jobless rate, which reflects labor market conditions more accurately, gained 0.9 percentage points to 12.4 percent in the month.
The official unemployment rate refers to those who are immediately available for work but fail to get a job for the past four weeks despite efforts to actively seek a job.
The expanded jobless rate adds those who are discouraged from searching a job, those who work part-time against their will to work full-time, and those who prepare to get a job after college graduation to the official jobless rate.
The unemployment rate for youths aged 15-29 rose 0.8 percentage points over the year to 11.5 percent last month. The expanded youth jobless rate gained 1.8 percentage points to 25.2 percent.
The number of economically inactive population grew 67,000 to 16,160,000 in the cited period.
The so-called “take-a-rest” group advanced 222,000 from a year ago to 1,971,000 in April. The group refers to those who replied that they took a rest during a job survey period. It is a significant figure as the group can include those who are unemployed and too discouraged to search for work for an extended period of time.
The number of discouraged workers, who gave up efforts to seek a job on the worsening of labor market conditions, was up 29,000 over the year to 487,000 in April. – XINHUA