South Korea's jobless rate falls to 3.5 % in April 2012

May 16, 2012 12:00 AM

South Korea's jobless rate decelerated in April thanks mainly to more positions created in the service sector, a government report showed.
The jobless rate stood at 3.5 % last month, down from 3.7 % a year earlier, according to the report by Statistics Korea. Last month's tally also represents a drop from a jobless rate of 3.7 % reached in March.

A total of 455,000 jobs were added to payrolls in April with 24.75 mm people employed in the country overall, the report showed. The employment rate edged up 0.4 percentage points to 59.7 %. The number of jobs created last month rose from 379,000 reported a year earlier, and is a gain compared to 419,000 new posts created in March.
"There was an increase in jobs created in the service sector centred on healthcare and welfare workers, education-related positions and retailers that contributed to the overall improvements in the jobless rate," the agency said in the report.

Reflecting improvements, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped to 3.4 % from 3.6 % tallied a year earlier, while the unemployment rate among young people between 15 and 29 stood at 8.5 %, a drop of 0.2 percentage points from April 2011.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, however, stood unchanged from the previous month, with unemployment among young people rising from 8.3 % in March. The economically active population came to 25.65 mm, up 1.6 % from the same month a year earlier, according to the report.

The latest job data comes as Asia's fourth-largest economy grew 2.8 % in the first quarter in the face of lingering eurozone concerns and sluggish growth in the United States and China that has hurt trade and exports. South Korea grew 3.6 % in 2011, with the government predicting growth to reach 3.7 % this year.
The country posted a trade surplus of $ 2.11 bn in April, buoyed by a steady rise in overseas demand for locally-made cars, steel and machinery products. It marked a decrease from the $ 2.37 bn surplus tallied the previous month.

Despite the third straight month of trade surplus, South Korea's exports contracted 4.8 % on-year to $ 46.19 bn last month with imports falling 0.2 % to $ 44.08 bn.

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