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S. Korea's job growth slows in June amid increased economic uncertainty

In this file photo, job seekers look at employment information at a job fair held at the Convention and Exhibition Center in southern Seoul last Tuesday. (Yonhap)
In this file photo, job seekers look at employment information at a job fair held at the Convention and Exhibition Center in southern Seoul last Tuesday. (Yonhap)

South Korea reported job additions for the 16th consecutive month in June, but the pace of job growth slowed amid heightened economic uncertainty, data showed Wednesday.

The number of employed people came to 28.49 million last month, up 841,000 from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The June reading marked the largest job addition in 22 years for any June. But the pace of job growth slowed compared with May, when the country added 935,000 jobs.

The statistics agency said job growth has continued as employment in in-person services improved due to the lifting of virus curbs.

"But the outlook for the job market remains uncertain down the road," Kong Mi-suk, a senior Statistics Korea official, told reporters.

The South Korean economy faces the risk of stagflation, a mix of slowing economic growth and high inflation, due to heightened external economic uncertainty, including the protracted war between Russia and Ukraine, and global monetary tightening.

Job data pointed to overall improvements in the labor market, but in detail, more than half of the June job additions were led by an increase in state-arranged short-term jobs for older adults.

The employment rate of people aged 15 and older rose 1.6 percentage points on-year to 62.9 percent in June, the highest for any June since July 1982, when the agency began compiling related data.

The number of economically inactive people -- those who are neither working nor actively seeking jobs or people outside the labor force -- reached 15.89 million in June, down 456,000 from a year earlier. It marked the 16th consecutive month of an on-year fall.

The country's jobless rate fell 0.8 percentage point on-year to 3 percent in June. The number of unemployed people fell 205,000 to 888,000.

By sector, the accommodation and restaurant business reported job growth for the second straight month in June, helped by the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions adopted in mid-April. The sector, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, saw the number of employed people increase 28,000 on-year in June.

The manufacturing sector, the backbone of the economy, reported an on-year increase of 158,000 job posts amid robust exports.

By age, job posts for those aged 60 and older grew the most, with 472,000 new positions on-year.

The number of permanent workers grew 899,000 on-year in June. But the number of temporary workers declined for the first time in 16 months, with a fall of 53,000. That of day laborers fell 79,000, marking the 14th straight month of decline.

In May, the Bank of Korea (BOK) forecast the number of employed people will increase 580,000 this year, larger than an on-year rise of 370,000 last year.

The government expected the number of employed people to grow some 600,000 in 2022.

Last month, the finance ministry lowered its 2022 growth outlook for Asia's fourth-largest economy to 2.6 percent, while sharply raising its inflation estimate to a 14-year high of 4.7 percent. (Yonhap)

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