November 14, 2019 12:19
The number of employed people grew by more than 400,000 last month, but most of the newly employed were elderly and took menial jobs created by the government.
Statistics Korea said Wednesday that 27.51 million people were employed as of October, up 419,000 from the same period last year. On paper, the employment rate stood at 61.7 percent, the highest for the month in 23 years. Unemployment stood at three percent, down 0.5 percentage points on-year.
But employment in the private sector and among the most productive age group in their 30s and 40s dwindled, while the number of employed people in their 60s increased by 417,000 last month, accounting for the lion's share of the increase. The number of employed people in their 30s and 40s declined by 146,000 and 50,000, down for the 25th month in a row.
A Statistics Korea staffer said, "People in their 40s are feeling the brunt of the severe slump in the manufacturing, construction and retail and wholesale industries."
There are more indicators that job growth is illusory. The number of people with part-time jobs of less than 36 hours a week surged by 599,000 or 13.6 percent, while that of people working less than 17 hours a week increased by a whopping 339,000 or 22.6 percent. In contrast, the number of people working more than 36 hours a week declined by 188,000 or 0.8 percent.
Despite this evidence that the quality of available jobs is dwindling, a government spokesman claimed the figures show "a clear recovery trend in the job market since August."
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