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(2nd LD) Korea's job additions on rising track, jobless rate at 4.1 pct in February

All News 10:50 March 11, 2020

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By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's jobless rate fell in February, and job creations rose by more than 400,000 for the third straight month, with the outbreak of the new coronavirus dealing a harsh blow to some sectors, such as the retail and wholesale segment, data showed Wednesday.

The unemployment rate fell 0.6 percentage point to 4.1 percent last month, and the number of employed people reached 26.83 million, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. South Korea added 492,000 jobs in the month.

The unemployment rate for young adults -- those aged between 15 and 29 -- fell to 9 percent last month from 9.5 percent tallied a year earlier.

(2nd LD) Korea's job additions on rising track, jobless rate at 4.1 pct in February - 1

The employment rate for people aged between 15 and 64 rose to 66.3 percent last month, marking the highest for February since 1982.

The monthly job creation mostly centered on seniors. The number of employed people aged 60 and older rose by 570,000 on-year last month.

But the number of employed people aged between 40 and 49 fell by 104,000 over the period, according to the data. Jobs for those in their 30s edged up 19,000, while 25,000 jobs were lost for 20-somethings.

By industry, the health and social welfare sector added 202,000 jobs, and the transportation segment saw an increase of 99,000 jobs last month amid rising demand for delivery services in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In what could be another positive sign for the labor market, the manufacturing segment added 34,000 new jobs, marking an on-year rise in job additions for two consecutive months. In January, the figure rebounded for the first time in nearly two years.

The COVID-19 outbreak, however, shed jobs in other areas as citizens avoided going out.

The wholesale and retail sector suffered a decline in job offerings by losing 106,000 jobs in February. The information and telecommunication sector also shed 25,000 jobs.

The jobs data came amid hopes that South Korea's economy could regain its recovery momentum this year, but the fallout from the new coronavirus is dashing such hope.

The South Korean economy was earlier projected to grow 2.3 percent this year, but the BOK has revised down its growth outlook to 2.1 percent, citing the crippling effects of the new coronavirus outbreak.

"The new coronavirus has already affected the service segment to some extent," Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said through social media.

"While the latest data suggests South Korea's job market is recovering, the survey was carried out before the full-fledged outbreak of the virus," Hong said. "The impact of COVID-19 is projected to begin materializing this month."

The total number of new coronavirus infections here reached 7,755 on Wednesday.


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