Only 270,000 more people had jobs in Korea in December than a year earlier, Statistics Korea said Wednesday. That was the first time since September 2011 that job growth fell below 300,000.
Every year the working-age population aged 15-63 increases by around 500,000 and the government considers a growth of 300,000 jobs the break-even point compared to the previous year's level.
Government officials are concerned about a slowdown in the growth of jobs. In September of last year, there were 680,000 more jobs than a year earlier, but that fell to 390,000 in October and 350,000 in November.
Kim Beom-suk at the Ministry of Strategy and Finance blamed a slump in the construction industry. "The temporary labor market was hit particularly hard by the cold spell last month," he said.
Experts say the high job growth of 530,000 in January last year could end up making job growth figures this month look relatively poor.