South Korea's jobless rate remained unchanged in November from a year earlier, with a protracted economic slowdown weighing heavily on the unemployment for young people, a government report showed Wednesday.
The unemployment rate in Asia's fourth-largest economy stood at 3.1 percent last month, staying flat from a year earlier, according to the report compiled by Statistics Korea.
The number of employed people stood at 26.59 million in November, up 339,000 from a year earlier, with the monthly gain recovering to the 300,000 level for the first time in three months.
The unemployment rate for young people, aged between 15 and 29, reached 8.2 percent last month, slightly up from 8.1 percent recorded a year earlier but down from the previous month's 8.5 percent.
The statistics office said the agricultural and the construction sectors lent support to the rise in the number of employed people in November.
The agricultural sector newly hired 31,000 people last month from a year earlier due to the good weather, while an additional
111,000 workers were hired by local builders amid a boom in the real estate market.
However, a slump in the manufacturing business, South Korea's backbone industry, continued in November as new employments fell by 102,000 last month from a year earlier, extending their losing streak for five straight months.
Local manufacturers newly hired around 150,000 people every month throughout last year, with the number peaking at 191,000 in October last year.
But the figure plunged to 20,000 in June and posted negative growth in July for the first time in 49 months.
"Exports are closely linked with the manufacturing industry. If the country's exports safely go on with plus figures in the coming months, employment in the manufacturing sector will be better off," said Sim Won-bo, head of the agency's employment statistics division.
Asia's fourth-largest economy saw its exports gain 2.7 percent in November, rebounding from a 5.9 percent drop in September and a 3.2 percent fall in October, to mark the second positive gain since the first month of 2015.
Also, the country is also making efforts to reshape ailing sectors like shipbuilding, shipping and steelmaking, which have been suffering massive losses stemming from low oil prices.
The agency said the local job market will be flooded with a large number of college students who seek part- and full-time jobs during the December-February winter vacation and the corporate recruiting season.
"We see higher unemployment rates near the end of the year and in the beginning of the year as the job-seeking season goes on," Sim said. "Jobless rates for young people will also go up."
The finance ministry also said the job market will get tougher in the coming months due to external uncertainties, ongoing corporate restructuring and contracted business sentiment.
"A scheduled government change and a possible rate hike in the United States and the corporate restructuring will likely intensify downside pressures on the South Korean economy," the ministry said in a release. "The government will expand fiscal spending to minimize risks on the economy and the job market." (Yonhap)