SEOUL, May 10 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's employment grew slower on a year-over-year basis last month due to an economic slump, especially in the manufacturing industry, statistical office data showed Wednesday.
The number of those employed totaled 28,432,000 in April, up 354,000 from the same month of last year, according to Statistics Korea. It was a slower increase compared to the growth of 469,000 in March.
The lower expansion came as uncertainties escalated over the South Korean economy on the continued export fall and the interest rate hikes.
The country's export kept sliding for the seventh straight month through April amid the weaker demand for South Korean products, especially semiconductors.
The central bank began to tighten its monetary policy stance in August 2021, hiking its benchmark interest rate by 3.0 percentage points to 3.50 percent in January this year.
The number of jobs among manufacturers shrank 97,000 in April from a year earlier, continuing to decrease for the fourth successive month.
The number of jobs lost in the wholesale and retail, and construction sectors stood at 62,000 and 31,000 each.
Employment in the lodging and eatery, and the health and social welfare services sectors grew 171,000 and 148,000, respectively, on the back of the return to normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The elderly people led the overall job increase. Except for the employment among those in their 60s or higher, the March jobs declined compared to the same month of last year.
The number of jobs among those aged 60 or higher surged 442,000 in April from a year earlier, but the figures for those in their 20s and 40s retreated 116,000 and 22,000, respectively.
The number of regular employees climbed 464,000, but the readings for irregular workers and daily laborers shrank 100,000 and 76,000 last month.
The number of the self-employed who hired workers increased 55,000, and the figure for the self-employed without employees gained 56,000 in March.
Employment rate for those aged 15 or higher rose 0.6 percentage points over the year to 62.7 percent in April, and the OECD-method hiring rate for those aged 15-64 went up 0.6 percentage points to 69.0 percent.
The number of those unemployed came in at 804,000 in April, down 59,000 from a year earlier. The jobless rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 2.8 percent.
The expanded jobless rate slipped 1.8 percentage points to 9.1 percent last month, and the rate for those aged 15-29 slumped 2.4 percentage points to 17.5 percent.
The official unemployment rate gauges those who are immediately available for work but failed to get a job for the past four weeks despite efforts to seek a job actively.
The expanded jobless rate, called labor underutilization indicator, adds those discouraged from searching for a job, those who work part-time against their will to work full-time, and those who prepare to get a job after college graduation to the official unemployment rate.
The economically inactive population, unwilling to seek a job and remaining unemployed, went down 156,000 over the year to 16,135,000 in April.
The reading for discouraged job seekers diminished 107,000 to 324,000 last month.
The number of the "take-a-rest" group, who replied that they took a rest during a job survey period, gained 133,000 to 2,351,000.
The take-a-rest group is considered important as it can include those who are too discouraged to seek a job for an extended period. ■