South Korea's jobless rate dropped in March from a month earlier, but job creation also slowed, raising concerns that the labor market conditions are not improving fast, a government report showed Wednesday.
According to the report by Statistics Korea, the jobless rate stood at 3.9 percent last month, down from 4.5 percent tallied in February. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate also dropped from 3.9 percent to 3.5 percent.
Job creation slowed from the previous month. The number of employed people stood at 25.16 million in March, up 649,000 from a year earlier. It is lower than the previous month's 835,000 gain, which was the largest on-year job growth since March 2002.
"The pace of job creation slowed from February, but the latest figure shows that the mood is still strong with the on-year job generation exceeding 600,000 for three straight months," a statistics agency official said.
"Though the unemployment rate fell, it is still relatively high compared with a year earlier, and this indicates that more people are venturing out to find jobs."
The report showed that wholesale and retail businesses were a major job creator, hiring 170,000 more than a year earlier.
The lodging and dining sector and manufacturing sector also hired 166,000 and 143,000 more people, respectively, while the health and social welfare service sector added 120,000 jobs over the same period.
The report showed that labor market conditions for younger people remained tough.
The jobless rate for those aged 15-29 stood at 9.9 percent in March, down from February's 10.9 percent, according to the report.
This is still higher than the 8.6 percent recorded in the same month a year earlier.
The number of unemployed people -- those who tried but were unable to land a job -- totaled 1.02 million in March. This is down from the previous month's 1.18 million but larger than the 883,000 tallied a year earlier, the report showed.
The latest job data comes amid expectations that the economy is picking up after a long-term slump. The government is worried that the private sector activity, including corporate investment, is not strong enough to prop up the recovery. (Yonhap)