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(LEAD) Cheong Wa Dae upbeat about job creation amid some positive data

All Headlines 16:25 May 19, 2019

(ATTN: CLARIFIES last year's data in 3rd para; ADDS outlook in 5th para)

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap)-- The presidential office said Sunday that its efforts to create jobs have begun to bear fruit, citing some recent data.

"Given various statistics, the employment situation is improving, compared with that of last year. It is (still) difficult but hopeful," Jung Tae-ho, senior secretary to President Moon Jae-in for job creation, told reporters.

A monthly average of around 97,000 South Koreans landed jobs in 2018, and some local think tanks expected 100,000-150,000 people to have new jobs per month this year.

But the number of newly added jobs reached more than 260,000 in February, 250,000 in March and 170,000 in April, according to the official.

If such a trend goes on, South Korea is expected to see the creation of an average of 200,000 new jobs a month in 2019.

"It's an epochal change in comparison with last year," he stressed.

Jung Tae-ho, senior presidential secretary for job creation, speaks to reporters at Cheong Wa Dae on May 19, 2019. (Yonhap)

In fact, the number of employed people totaled 26.8 million in March, an increase of 250,000 from the same month in 2018, according to Statistics Korea.

The jobless rate also slightly fell 0.2 percentage point on-year to 4.3 percent in March.

The positive indications were led by the new technology and social service fields, especially the ICT sector, Jung said.

"I think it's a result of the government's fourth industrial revolution policy," he said.

He added the employment rate is bouncing back as well.

A problem, however, is the continued decrease in the number of those getting jobs at self-employed businesses and manufacturing sectors.

"(We) will take such a point into account in the government's key policy direction going forward," he said.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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