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Irregular workers increasing in S. Korea after financial crisis

All Headlines 10:52 November 09, 2009

SEOUL, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) --- The number of irregular workers in South Korea is increasing as the government seeks to provide temporary jobs as part of recent efforts to thaw frozen employment markets amid an economic slump, data showed Monday.

According to the data by the National Statistical Office, the nation's irregular workers totaled 5.75 million as of the end of August, compared with 5.45 million last year. The increase comes after the number of irregular workers showed signs of declining after 2007.

Based on the figures, irregular employees including part timers, daily and temporary workers accounted for 34.9 percent of the nation's total income earners, up from 32.6 percent posted six years earlier, the report showed.

The upturn is attributed mostly to the government's recent efforts to create temporary jobs in the public sector as it is struggling to ease frozen employment conditions in the wake of the financial crisis last year and a resulting global recession.

South Korea had been losing jobs as companies trimmed recruitment on long-term contracts for fear that business conditions could deteriorate. In May, job losses rose to a 10-year high of 219,000 but state efforts to create jobs helped ease tightened labor markets in recent months.

The jobless rate stood at 3.4 percent in September, down from 3.7 percent the previous month, marking the lowest level since December last year. The number of employed people also surged to 23.8 million, up 71,000 from a year earlier, after the economy added a mere 3,000 new jobs on-year in August.

Experts say that the state-led job-creating efforts surely helped the labor market rebound but express concerns that it is proof that companies remain reluctant to hire workers on a long-term basis, leaving many newly-employed people in a state of job insecurity and less favorable working conditions.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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