October 17, 2019 10:29
The number of employed people increased by 348,000 on-year in September, but the quality of work did not get better since most were elderly workers in short-term jobs financed by the government.
According to Statistics Korea on Wednesday, some 27.4 million people were employed in September, up 348,000 from a year ago. The number increased by more than 300,000 for a second straight month after August's 452,000. On paper, the employment rate stood at 61.5 percent, up 0.3 percentage points on-year and a 23-year high for September.
But most of this increase was in jobs for elderly workers and part-timer. The number of employed people over 60 increased by a whopping 380,000 over the same period. In contrast, employed people in their 40s and 30s, the mainstay of the economy, dwindled by 179,000 and 13,000, continuing a 24-month decline.
The number of employed people working fewer than 36 hours per week soared by 737,000 or 16.3 percent last month, with a particularly noticeable increase of 24.5 percent (371,000) among those working between just one to 17 hours a week.
Meanwhile the number of those working more than 36 hours per week plunged by 452,000 or two percent. The government nonetheless claimed that employment is improving both quantitatively and qualitatively, though Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom admitted that "uncertainty still exists in the employment environment."
Prof. Sung Tae-yoon of Yonsei University said, "The index has improved on surface, but there's no improvement in the market as the number of quality jobs has declined."
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