Financial industry job fair in Seoul. (Photo: VCG)
SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's job growth hit a 9-year low last year, with the unemployment rate rising to the highest in 17 years, a government report showed Wednesday.
The number of those employed stood at 26,822,000 in 2018, up 97,000 from the previous year, according to Statistics Korea. The figure expanded 316,000 in 2017.
It was the lowest in nine years since 2009 when the employment reduced 87,000 on negative effect from the global financial crisis.
Jobless rate rose 0.1 percentage point over the year to 3.8 percent in 2018, marking the highest since 2001.
The number of those unemployed was 1,073,000 in 2018, topping 1 million for the third consecutive year.
Unemployment rate among youths aged 15-29 declined 0.3 percentage points over the year to 9.5 percent in 2018.
The jobless rate among those aged 25-29 tumbled 0.7 percentage points to 8.8 percent, indicating that labor market conditions improved among college graduates.
The so-called expanded jobless rate among youths, which reflects labor market conditions more accurately, reached 22.8 percent in 2018, the highest since the relevant figure began to be compiled in 2015.
The official unemployment rate refers to those who are immediately available for work but fail to get a job for the past four weeks despite efforts to actively seek a job.
The expanded jobless rate adds those who are discouraged to seek 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 jobless rate.
By industry, the number of workers in the manufacturing industry, which is seen as providing decent jobs, reduced 56,000 in 2018 from the previous year.
Jobs in the wholesale and retail, rent service and education service sectors declined last year, but those in the social welfare, healthcare, public administration and information and communications industries increased in the year.
Regular workers expanded 345,000 in 2018, while irregular workers and those hired on a daily basis shrank 141,000 and 54,000, respectively.
Employment rate fell 0.1 percentage point over the year to 60.7 percent in 2018, marking the first fall since 2009.
The employment rate gauges the percentage of working people to the working-age population, or those aged 15 or above. The hiring rate is used as an alternative to jobless rate, and the government set its long-term target at 70 percent.
The number of economically inactive population was 16,287,000 in 2018, up 104,000 from the previous year.
Among the total, those who replied that they were preparing to get a job increased 24,000 over the year to 693,000 in 2018.
Discouraged workers, who gave up efforts to seek a job because of the worsened labor market conditions, advanced 43,000 to 524,000 in the cited period.
The so-called "take-a-rest" group also gained last year. The group refers to those who replied that they took a rest during the job survey period. It is an important figure as the group can include those who are unemployed and too discouraged to search for work for an extended period of time.