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

Bangladeshis will be richer than Indians by 2030

This according to a new report by Standard Chartered bank. Bangladeshis will be richer than Indians by 2030 as the country’s per capita income will grow nearly four times throughout the 2020s, according to Standard Chartered — in yet another endorsement of its tremendous growth momentum. The per capita income of Bangladesh will rise to $5,734.6 in 2030. India’s will edge up to $5,423.4 after growing less than three times, according to a research note from Madhur Jha, Standard Chartered India’s head of thematic research, and David Mann, the bank’s global chief economist. Last year, Bangladesh’s per capita income stood at $1,599.8 and India’s $1,913.2. The note highlights the economies around the world that are likely to grow the fastest in the 2020s. The threshold for the list is 7 percent, the approximate growth rate at which an economy can double in size every 10 years.


By Daily Star
May 17, 2019

Business, Economics

China vows action as US moves to blacklist Huawei

Hopes of a trade deal recede as experts fear American companies could face a backlash. China has slammed the United States for putting technology giant Huawei on an export blacklist and said it will take “all necessary measures” to protect the legal rights of Chinese firms. The latest twist in the face-off between the US and China not only suggests that hopes of a trade deal are fast evaporating, but it could also delay the roll-out of 5G networks worldwide. US technology firms could also face a backlash, experts said. China’s Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that it resolutely opposed any coun


By The Straits Times
May 17, 2019

Business, Economics

Beijing stresses equality in trade talks with Washington

World market confidence dampened by escalation, Chinese state media says. Consultations between China and the United States are not a one-way street, and should be conducted amid a spirit of equality, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday in Russia. Wang said that it is pointless for one side to blame the other, or even to absolve themselves from responsibility. Wang stressed if one side is trying to place extreme pressure on the other, it will cause a legitimate counterattack. “The measures from us are not only to safeguard China’s own rights, but to protect the basic rules of the current multilateral trading mechanism,” Wang said. Wang made the remark in a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during his visit to the Black Sea coastal city of Sochi. Experts warned that the rising US tariffs on Ch


By China Daily
May 16, 2019

Business, Economics

South Korea jobless rate rises to 4.4% in April

Weak job markets and uncertain macroeconomics have contributed to increased unemployment. South Korea’s jobless rate rose to 4.4 percent in April, government data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign of a weak job market amid an economic slowdown in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. The unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage point from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. It also marked the highest level for any April since 2000, when the corresponding figure stood at 4.5 percent. The number of employed people reached 27.03 million in April, an increase of 171,000 from the same month in 2018.


By The Korea Herald
May 15, 2019

Business, Economics

Nepal’s tea estate employees say enough is enough, begin indefinite strike

A special report by Tsering D Gurung looks at conditions for tea workers in Nepal. The Budhakaran Tea Estate, a sprawling property located in the town of Bhadrapur in Jhapa, would usually be teeming with activity this time of the year. Today, it is eerily quiet. Tea leaves meant to have been plucked with the onset of Spring have turned yellow. The gate to the processing factory has been locked for over a month. The only individuals working on the estate, which employs nearly 150 people, are two men guarding the owner’s home. Since April 1, tea plantation workers across eastern Nepal have gone on strike, shutting down estates to demand their employers implement the minimum daily wage and provide other benefits including social security and medical insurance guaranteed under the 2017 Labour Act. Although the law came into effect last July, almost all the workers say they have not s


By The Kathmandu Post
May 14, 2019

Business, Economics

Beijing vows retaliation on US trade

Ministry expresses ‘deep regrets’ in wake of added tariffs on Chinese goods. The Ministry of Commerce expressed “deep regrets” on Friday at the United States’ move to impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports and vowed to take necessary countermeasures. The comments came shortly after the US increased the rate of additional duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent, a move that economists said amounts to “typical trade bullying” that will backfire to hurt its own interests. The commerce ministry said in a statement that the 11th round of China-US high-level economic and trade consultations are underway, and China hopes the two sides can work together to resolve existing issues cooperatively. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news briefing that a healthy and stable Sino-US relationship serves the


By China Daily
May 13, 2019