] The number of casual employees in South Korea for the third quarter has increased to the record high in five years, government data showed in Oct. 17.
The number of employees who work for one hour to 17 hours per week came to 1.34 million as of end-September this year, up 91,000 from the same period a year earlier, according to the data by Statistics Korea.
The third-quarter tally was the highest since the 1.54 million casual workers posted in the third quarter of 2011. Casual employees refer to those who work two to three hours a day or work three to four times per week.
The number of casual employees has recently been rising at a far faster clip than that of overall employed people. The on-year growth rate of casual workers stood at 7.2 percent in the third quarter with the comparable figure for total employed people reaching 1.2 percent.
In the second quarter, the number of casual workers increased 4.4 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 1.1 percent gain in that of total employed people.
The fast rise in the number of casual employees was attributed mainly to a government push to offer time-selective positions for women who lost their jobs because of childbirth and child care as part of efforts to raise the country’s employment rate to 70 percent by early 2018.
However, some experts pointed out that the longstanding weakness of the economy has forced companies to hire casual employees instead of regular workers.