SEJONG-- The number of jobs offered by local businesses in South Korea edged up last year from a year earlier amid a protracted economic slump, government data showed Tuesday.

There were a total of 23.23 million jobs as of December 2016, up 0.9 percent, or 220,000, from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Some 3.61 million jobs were newly created last year, while 3.39 million position were lost.

Incorporated companies offered 11.14 million jobs, or 48 percent of the total, over the cited period, with 2.13 million being employed in one-person operations and 2.44 million jobs set up by government agencies and public organizations.

By industry, the manufacturing sector provided 4.76 million jobs last year, followed by 3.03 million in the retail and wholesale businesses and 2.09 million in construction.

Some 72.3 percent of the job offerings were held by those in their 30-50s, with 12.4 percent for seniors aged 60 years or over.

"The growth pace of job offerings by manufacturing sector slowed down sharply in 2016 from a year earlier due to an economic downturn," said an official from the statistics office. "The numbers will likely improve in 2017 as the South Korean economy is better off than the previous year."

Asia's fourth-largest economy has struggled with a protracted slump last year as contracted global trade dampened its exports, a key economic driver, and the entire manufacturing industry.

But it shows some signs of recovery this year as the country's outbound shipments have been on a roll for every month of 2017.

Source: Yonhap News Agency