South Korea's monthly job additions slowed for the ninth consecutive month in February, data showed Wednesday, amid forecasts the job recovery will lose steam this year amid the economic slowdown.
The number of employed people came to 27.71 million in February, up around 312,000 from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. Excluding those aged 60 and above, however, the figure moved down 101,000 over the period.
The February figure marked a decrease from 411,000 jobs added on-year in January and the smallest since February 2021, when the corresponding reading was 473,000.
South Korea's jobless rate moved down 0.3 percentage point on-year to 3.1 percent in February, the data also showed.
The decrease followed a higher base effect, as South Korea added 1.03 million jobs on-year in February last year. The figure came to 473,000 in the same month of 2021.
Experts say the sluggish exports and the weakening domestic consumption are presumed to have weighed down on the employment.
The overall growth was primarily led by those aged 60 and older, with 413,000 jobs being added in the age group.
The number of jobs for those in their 20s and 40s, on the other hand, moved down 94,000 and 77,000, respectively, over the period.
The unemployment for South Koreans aged from 15 to 29 reached 7 percent in February, up 0.1 percentage point on-year.
New jobs were mainly created in the welfare, accommodation, restaurant and communication industries in February.
The welfare sector added 192,000 jobs, with the accommodation and restaurant industries hiring 176,000 more people.
Jobs from the retail, wholesale, transportation and agricultural sectors, on the other hand, lost ground.
The manufacturing sector also saw its number of jobs fall 27,000 on-year in February.
"While the job market continued to expand in February, the growth slowed for the ninth consecutive month following the economic slowdown," a Statistics Korea official said.
The latest figures came about three weeks after the Bank of Korea kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.5 percent amid concerns that aggressive monetary tightening could hurt economic growth.
It marked the first freeze after seven straight months of increases meant to tame inflation. A hike in borrowing costs typically weighs down employment as businesses and households cut their spending.
In 2022, South Korea added an average of 816,000 jobs on-year each month, driven by the post-pandemic recovery. The finance ministry earlier said it expects the figure to drop to only 100,000 in 2023 due to the slowing economy and the declining population. (Yonhap)