SEOUL-- The number of jobs in South Korea's large companies fell to the lowest point in nearly seven years, government data showed Monday, due to a slowdown in the manufacturing sector.

Payrolls of firms with over 300 employees came to 2.463 million people in the second quarter, down 25,000 from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The reduction in the size of the workforce is the largest since the third quarter of 2010, when the number of employees at such companies was slashed by 84,000 amid a tight job market following the 2008 global financial crisis, the data showed.

The statistics office said a recent slowdown in the manufacturing field, one of the country's main hiring sectors, is to blame for the drop in positions.

Meanwhile, the number of employees at companies with four employees or fewer came to 9.872 million in the second quarter, up 147,000 from a year earlier. The hike in workers is the largest since the first quarter of 2014, when the number of workers at such companies rose by 196,000.

The data also showed that the number of self-employed people stood at 5.673 million in the second quarter, up 66,000 from a year earlier.

The latest figures mean that the market for quality jobs is worsening amid sluggish economic conditions.

In June, the country's overall jobless rate stood at 3.8 percent, according to government data. The corresponding number for young people aged between 15 and 29 was 10.1 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency