SEJONG-- New hirings by public institutions through end-September this year met 70 percent of the annual target, meaning 5,000 people will have to be employed in the final quarter to reach it, according to government statistics Thursday.

Figures posted on the government portal All Public Information in One (ALIO) said 14,015 people were hired during the three quarters this year, down 5.3 percent on-year. The tally is about 70 percent of the 19,862 set as the goal for this year.

The Moon Jae-in administration, which took office in May, had added 2,500 to this initial target, which would require hiring over 8,000 people by year-end.

Government officials said the shortfall is partly due to fewer people retiring than anticipated, affecting early hirings. Some suspect that state enterprises are reluctant about new employment, burdened by a policy push to turn their temporary workers into regular staff as the government seeks to improve job stability.

Officials, however, say the employment target will still be met since the recruiting season by public institutions is mostly concentrated in the fourth quarter.

"The initial goal can be reached as the Korea Electric Power Corp., National Health Insurance Service and other major state enterprises will carry out hirings," a Ministry of Strategy and Finance official said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency