See More on Facebook

Business, Economics

Jobless rate hits 19-year high in Korea

Rate rises on back of youth unemployment.


Written by

Updated: May 16, 2019

South Korea’s job market prolonged its downswing in April, with unemployment reaching its highest point in 19 years, government data showed Wednesday.

The increasing pace of job creation also slowed further, especially in the retail and manufacturing sectors and among the economically active 30-40 age group.

According to job figures released by Statistics Korea, the total number of jobless people surpassed 1.24 million as of April for the first time since the government started compiling the data in June 1999.

The jobless rate stood at 4.4 percent, up 0.3 percentage point from a year earlier and marking the highest for any April since 2000, when Asia’s fourth-largest economy was reeling under the aftermaths of the Asian Financial Crisis.

The jobless rate for young adults — those aged between 15 and 29 — also rose to a record-high 11.5 percent in April, up 0.8 percentage point during the same period.

The number of jobs in April came to 27 million, up 171,000 from a year earlier, but the increase was weaker than the corresponding figures of 263,000 in February and 250,000 in March.

The latest jobless rate was partly attributable to the increased number of applicants to take the civil servant test in cities and provincial authorities. About 380,000 took the test in April this year, while 200,000 had applied in March last year, according to Statistics Korea.

Taking the heaviest blow from the sluggish employment trend was the retail and wholesale sector, which lost 76,000 positions in April. The manufacturing sector, considered the backbone of the country’s export-dependent economy, also shed 52,000 jobs in April, marking a downtrend for 13 consecutive months.

The health care and social welfare sectors, in contrast, added 127,000 jobs.

While the typically most economically active 30-40 age group continued to struggle in to find jobs, those aged 60 or more saw 335,000 new jobs in April, most of them as temporary positions.

“In April, there was a mixture of both positive and negative signals concerning the domestic job market,” said an official of the statistics office.

The positive aspects included the slowing pace of job lossses in manufacturing, due to positive developments in the chemical industry, as well as a slight increase of new jobs in the food and lodging sectors, according to the official.

“We will have to keep watch on the manufacturing, construction and retail and wholesale sectors throughout t(the rest of) May in order to figure out the employment situation for the entire second quarter.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Business, Economics

Trump again cites questionable numbers related to Korea trade deal

Trump has used the trade deal to bolster his credentials back home. US President Donald Trump again cited questionable numbers on Tuesday as he touted his administration’s renegotiated free trade agreement with South Korea. Trump told the Economic Club of New York that the revised FTA, which took effect early this year, doubled the number of American cars that can be sold in South Korea under US standards and extended American tariffs on Korean pickup trucks by another 20 years to 2041. He then took a swipe at the previous administration of Barack Obama, which negotiated the original agreement. “The deal from the previous admini


By The Korea Herald
November 13, 2019

Business, Economics

Uncertainty persists on US – China trade deal

This despite Trump’s comments that US and China close to trade deal. US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday (Nov 12) that the United States and China are close to a trade deal, but made clear that the prospect of tariffs was still on the table, with a warning that the US would raise tariffs on China if no trade deal was reached. His speech at the Economic Club of New York was closely watched by Wall Street but offered no new details on any signing of a much-touted “Phase One” preliminary trade deal with China. China, said President Trump, was dying to make a deal with their “supply chains cracking very badly” almost two years into the trade war. “We’re the ones deciding whether or not we want t


By The Straits Times
November 13, 2019

Business, Economics

India should have signed up for RCEP

India has decided to put a halt on its joining the largest planned free trade area. Had India not pulled out at the last minute from signing the deal during the 3rd summit of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Bangkok on November 4, the RCEP would have been the largest free trade area in the world so far—comprising of 16 Asia Pacific countries that house 3.4 billion people, and constituting one-third of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 40 percent of global trade. Ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea fo


By The Kathmandu Post
November 13, 2019

Business, Economics

US property loses allure for Chinese buyers

Economic factors contribute to falling demand.  Over the past 10 months, Bei Qin, a realtor in Silicon Valley, California, has not had any clients from China, a market that used to be her major source of business. “We had the best business in 2016 and 2017. Every day, we had inquiries from Chinese buyers and every week our WeChat account had more than 10 new subscribers,” said Qin, president of ACEQ Investment Group in Cupertino. “Now those days are gone.” After a decade of increasing investment by wealthy Chinese in residential property purchases in the United States-the biggest proportion of international buyers for seven consecutive y


By China Daily
November 12, 2019

Business, Economics

New OECD tax rule for multinationals lacks clear definitions

OECD rules are lacking for corporations around the world. A proposed system for taxing large multinationals, including global tech giants, unveiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) last month has drawn mixed views on how it will impact Japanese companies. While one viewpoint is that only a limited number of companies will be subject to the new tax, the Japanese economic community expects nearly 100 domestic companies to be affected. The OECD plan is being considered because multinational enterprises, such as major digital companies that provide services across borders via the internet, are seeing rapid profit growth. The new rule will allow governments to impose taxes on companies which do not have a physical presence within their borders, such as a branch office or factory. The OECD aims to reach a broad agreement in Janu


By The Japan News
November 12, 2019

Business, Economics

S. Korea open to settling spat with Japan over intel-sharing pact if relations improve

Intelligence sharing has been suspended since an economic spat between the two countries erupted several months ago. President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser reaffirmed Sunday that South Korea’s bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan could be renewed, as the expiration date draws near. Chung Eui-yong, chief of Cheong Wa Dae’s National Security Office, laid the blame on Japan for the strained relations, which have sunk to their lowest point in decades. “The government is willing to rethink an extension of the GSOMIA if South Korea-Japan relations normalize,” he said during a press briefing on Sunday, referring to the


By The Korea Herald
November 11, 2019