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(2nd LD) Finance minister says January job data likely to be weak

All News 17:45 February 07, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with separate report by finance ministry)

SEJONG, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's finance minister said Thursday that he expects weak employment data in January due mainly to a high base effect amid an economic slowdown.

Hong Nam-ki, made the assessment at a meeting with heads of the National Tax Service, the Korea Customs Service, Statistics Korea and Public Procurement Service in Sejong, an administrative hub located 130 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

Hong's comments came six days before Statistics Korea releases the country's employment report for January.

The South Korean economy added 334,000 jobs in January of last year from the same one month period of 2017, a high base effect that could likely lead to a disappointing jobs report in the first month of 2019.

In December, South Korea added 34,000 jobs from a year earlier.

Hong also called for preemptive and aggressive measures to cope with difficulties and risks, citing slowing exports, weak corporate investment and trade frictions between the United States and China.

Also on Thursday, the finance ministry said in a separate report that it may not be easy to bolster employment as the size of the economically active population aged between 15 and 64 is rapidly shrinking.

Hong Nam-ki (2nd from L), the minister of economy and finance, speaks in a meeting with heads of the National Tax Service, the Korea Customs Service, Statistics Korea and Public Procurement Service at a government building in Sejong, an administrative hub located 130 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Feb. 7, 2019. This photo was provided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. (Yonhap)

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