Korea logs smallest job gain in 2 years

  • Korea saw the smallest increase in the number of additional jobs in nearly two years in Jan 23. The pace of increase has slowed for eight months in a row since May 22, indicating a shrinking labor market.
  • According to data released by the Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of employed people came in at 27.36mn in Jan 23, up 1.5% or 411,000 from Jan 22. It was the lowest on-year growth since the 314,000 on-year growth tallied in Mar 21.
  • By sector, job creation took place in the welfare, accommodation, restaurant and communication industries while the manufacturing sector struggled to add new jobs last month.
  • The ministry said the number of South Koreans aged from 15 to 64 fell 277,000 from Jan 22.
  • While the economy added 816,000 jobs on-year in 2022, the figure in 2023 is expected to be much lower at only 100,000, the ministry estimated.
  • A hike in borrowing costs also appears to have affected the job market as companies and households reduce spending. The Bank of Korea raised its benchmark rate in Jan 23 from 3.25% to 3.5%, the highest level since 2008.

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