South Korea’s un­em­ploy­ment inches down in Septem­ber

Gulf Times Business - - BUSINESS -

South Korea’s un­em­ploy­ment rate fell in Septem­ber, re­cov­er­ing from an eight-year high in Au­gust, as in­creased fis­cal spend­ing in the health­care sec­tor boosted jobs even as man­u­fac­tur­ers and re­tail­ers shed work­ers.

The un­em­ploy­ment rate fell to 4% in Septem­ber from 4.2% in sea­son­ally ad­justed terms as the num­ber of em­ployed rose by 45,000 peo­ple from a year ear­lier, mark­ing the big­gest in­crease since June, a Statis­tics Korea re­port showed yes­ter­day.

An­a­lysts sur­veyed by Reuters ex­pected un­em­ploy­ment would be in a range of 3.7% to 4.2%, with many fore­cast­ing a slow re­cov­ery in the job mar­ket due to on­go­ing re­struc­tur­ing in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor as well as Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in’s con­tro­ver­sial poli­cies to sharply raise min­i­mum wages.

The health­care and so­cial ser­vices sec­tor saw jobs in­creas­ing by 133,000 in Septem­ber from a year ear­lier, thanks to “the govern­ment’s ef­forts to im­prove health­care and add so­cial work­ers in the sec­tor,” a Statis­tics Korea of­fi­cial said af­ter the data was pub­lished.

The num­ber of peo­ple with jobs in­creased by 137,000 in Septem­ber from a year ear­lier, the re­port showed.

“We’re see­ing the data bot­tom­ing out, although we need to wait and see if the up­turn (in job growth) will hold up,” said Park Sang-hyun, an econ­o­mist at Lead­ing In­vest­ment & Se­cu­ri­ties in Seoul.

“It won’t be easy to see fast job growth from the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor as cor­po­rate in­vest­ment isn’t strong.”

Yes­ter­day’s re­port showed man­u­fac­tur­ers shed 42,000 jobs from a year ear­lier, while re­tail­ers cut an­other 100,000 jobs af­ter sim­i­lar de­clines in Au­gust.

The na­tion’s fi­nance min­istry in a sep­a­rate re­port said the job mar­ket is “still in grave sit­u­a­tion,” as man­u­fac­tur­ing, and tourism sec­tors are still shed­ding jobs.

Pres­i­dent Moon’s sup­port rat­ing dropped to 49% in early Septem­ber, a weekly Gallup Korea sur­vey showed, the low­est since he took of­fice in May 2017 as the worst un­em­ploy­ment fig­ures since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis sparked a strong pub­lic back­lash.

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