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Korea's jobless rate remains steady at 3.6% in Aug.

South Korea's jobless rate stayed unchanged in August, but the number of newly employed people dropped to a 4 1/2-year low amid weak signs of economic recovery, government data showed Wednesday.

The unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent last month, staying flat from the same month last year, according to the report compiled by Statistics Korea. From a month earlier, it gained 0.1 percentage point.

The number of employed people reached 26.7 million in August, up 212,000 from a year earlier, marking the lowest monthly gain since February 2013, when it hit 201,000.

The unemployment rate for young people, aged between 15 and 29, was 9.4 percent, slightly up from 9.3 percent tallied a year earlier. It is the highest number among all August data since 1999.

The statistics office said a sharp drop in employment by the construction business dragged down the country's total hiring due mainly to the rainy weather throughout August.

Some 1.9 million workers were hired by local builders last month, up 34,000 from a year earlier, compared with an additional 101,000 rise in the previous month.

"It rained almost every day last month when we carried out an employment survey," said Bin Hyun-joon, head of the agency's employment statistics division. "Due to the weather, part-timers who work at construction sites did not get hired."

Moreover, the number of new jobs offered by hotels and restaurants fell 40,000 on-year to 2.3 million last month, while those at transportation businesses dropped 14,000 to 1.38 million.

The manufacturing sector, the backbone industry that shoulders a fifth of employment in Asia's fourth-largest economy, had 4.4 million workers on its payroll last month, up 34,000 from a year earlier.

Despite the downturn in the new hirings, the employment figure edged up 0.1 percentage point to 61.1 percent last month from a year earlier, with the corresponding figure for young people also gaining 0.2 percentage point to 43.1 percent.

"The data reflects the slowing down of the growth pace of the country's economically active population," said the official, referring to the country's rapid aging trend.

The number of economically active people rose 0.8 percent on-year to 27.7 million in August, although the growth rate has been moving down from a 1.1 percent on-year gain in July and 1.3 percent annual increase tallied in June. (Yonhap)
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