(2nd LD) On-year job growth picks up in Sept., manufacturing jobs fall by most in 5 months

South Korea's on-year employment growth accelerated for the second consecutive month in September, but jobs in the manufacturing sector fell by the most in five months amid an economic slowdown, data showed Friday.

The number of employed people came to 28.69 million last month, up around 309,000 from a year earlier, or 1.1 percent, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Hiring has logged on-year growth since March 2021, and it is the first time in three months that the country has added more than 300,000 jobs.

Monthly job additions rebounded in August after four months of a slowdown.

The employment rate of people aged 15 and older rose 0.5 percentage point on-year to 63.2 percent last month, the highest for any September since the statistics agency began compiling related data in 1982.

The country's jobless rate came to 2.3 percent last month, the lowest level for any September, down 0.1 percentage point from a year earlier, the data showed.

By age, the hiring of those aged 60 and older grew the most in September, or 354,000 new positions on-year. Jobs for those in their 30s rose 56,000 and those for people in their 50s increased 45,000.

But the number of positions for those aged 15-29 dropped 89,000, the 11th consecutive fall, the data showed.

The finance ministry cited demographic changes as one of reasons for the employment fall among young people.

The number of the newly employed in their 20s fell 91,000 during the January-August period, but the population of the age group sank 99,000, government data showed.

The overall payrolls growth in September was attributable to the upbeat service sector, which added 335,000 jobs last month.

The welfare and social service segment added 118,000 new jobs, and the science and technology service sector increased by 67,000 new jobs last month.

Some 66,000 jobs were also added in the accommodation and restaurant sector.

But the manufacturing sector shed 72,000 jobs in September, the largest figure since April, when 97,000 jobs were lost.

The sector reported an on-year job loss for the ninth consecutive month, as production in the sector and exports have remained weak amid an economic slowdown.

"The fall in jobs in the manufacturing sector is partly attributable to a high base effect," an agency official said. "The auto and health care sectors added more jobs, offsetting the fall in the electronics components and chemicals sectors.

The number of jobs in the wholesale and retail sector also fell 17,000, and the real estate sector lost 36,000 jobs, the data showed.

The finance ministry said the job market has improved also in terms of quality, as the number of permanent workers grew 435,000 on-year, while that of temporary workers fell by 31,000.

"The job market is expected to remain stable. Payrolls in the service sector, in particular, are expected to grow further in line with the resumption of Chinese group tours, among other factors," the ministry said.

"The government will closely watch such risk factors as volatile oil prices and higher interest rates," it added.

During a meeting of a labor task force, First Vice Finance Minister Kim Byoung-hwan said the government will unveil measures next week to address the shortage of workforce in provincial areas over the population aging.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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