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Job numbers increase the most in 18 months

Aug 15,2019
Old people are getting jobs, while the middle aged are getting laid off. The trend has been a consistent one since the beginning of the year.

According to Statistics Korea on Wednesday, 299,000 new jobs were created in July from July 2018, which is the largest number of jobs created in more than a year and a half.

The last time jobs were created at this pace was in January 2018, when 334,000 jobs were added, compared to the same month the previous year.

July is the third consecutive month in which new jobs totaled more than 200,000.

Other than January, when only 19,000 jobs were created, and in April, when the newly-added jobs only came in at 171,000, in every month this year more than 200,000 jobs have been added.

This is a stark contrast to 2018, when the number of newly-added jobs in a month fell to a few as 3,000.

“The newly-added jobs were largely health and social welfare jobs, as well as those related to arts, services, restaurants and lodging,” said Jeong Dong-wook, head of employment statistics at Statistics Korea.

The statistics agency official said jobs in the manufacturing industry continued to fall.

“The manufacturing industry has been shrinking on the back of struggles in the electrical and electronics industry, including semiconductors.”

The number of health and social welfare jobs increased by 146,000, lodging and restaurant jobs by 101,000 and sports and leisure jobs by 65,000.

Statistics Korea said restaurant and lodging jobs were up mostly because of an increase in foreign tourists.

The number of manufacturing jobs fell 94,000, and wholesale and retail job numbers were down 86,000. Manufacturing has been losing jobs for 16 consecutive months.

“The struggles in the manufacturing industry and wholesale and retail are affecting the jobs of those in their 40s,” Jeong said.

Last month, 179,000 people in their 40s lost their jobs. It was one of the only two age groups in which job numbers declined. A total of 230,000 jobs were lost in the 30s age group.

Concern has been growing about the job losses of middle-aged people. They are not only the backbone of the economy, but they are the age group most financially stressed due to raising children and supporting parents.

People in their 60s or older continued to enjoy the strongest employment increases. Last month, 377,000 new jobs were created in this category. This is the sixth consecutive month where more than 300,000 jobs were created for the older group.

Many of the jobs for the older people are in the health and welfare fields.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]