South Korea's job market is expected to improve in earnest next year, with more than 200,000 new jobs likely to be created in the second half of 2019, the vice chief of the presidential job commission said Thursday.
Rhee Mok-hee made the remark at a meeting of officials from the government and the ruling Democratic Party to discuss ways to create jobs by fostering new growth industries.
"I expect that the job market will improve to some degree in the second half," Rhee said at the start of the gathering. "The improvement will be made in earnest starting next year, and in the second quarter, the impact of the government's policy will be evident."
He said that around 250,000 new jobs are likely to be created in the second half of next year, although he didn't give details.
South Korea posted the worst job growth in more than eight years in July, adding just 5,000 posts from a year earlier.
In July, the government cut its job creation target to 180,000 this year from its previous forecast of 320,000.
Critics blamed the government's minimum wage hikes for poor job growth as smaller firms and owners of mom and pop stores have been dismissing many part-time workers.
But the government made it clear that it has no plan to ditch its signature economic policy of "income-driven growth," which calls for increased income for and spending by households based on higher wages.
Hong Young-pyo, the floor leader of the DP, stressed the need to nurture new industries, including biohealth and software, to back up the government's policy of innovative growth.
"We need to discuss ways to create quality jobs by nurturing the new growth engines," Hong said. "The government and the DP should step up efforts to achieve the policy goal of creating jobs through innovative growth." (Yonhap)