S. Korea’s jobless rate drops to 10-month low in Oct.

SEJONG-- South Korea's jobless rate dropped to the lowest level in 10 months in October, but the rate of the fall slowed down, government data showed Wednesday.

The unemployment rate stood at 3.2 percent last, down 0.2 percentage point from the same month last year, according to the report compiled by Statistics Korea. From a month earlier, it also fell 0.2 percentage point.

It marked the lowest rate since December last year, when it hit 3.2 percent.

The number of employed people reached 26.85 million in October, up 279,000 from a year earlier, slowing down from the previous month's rise of 314,000.

The unemployment rate for young people -- those aged between 15 and 29 -- was 8.6 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from a year earlier.

The employment rate advanced 0.2 percentage point to 61.3 percent last month from a year earlier, with the corresponding figure for young people losing 0.2 percentage point to 42.4 percent.

The manufacturing sector, the backbone industry that shoulders a fifth of employment in Asia's fourth-largest economy, had 4.47 million workers on its payroll last month, up 28,000 from a year earlier.

More than 2 million workers were employed by local builders last month, up 118,000 from a year earlier, while retailers and wholesalers provided 48,000 new jobs in October. The health care and social welfare sector added 68,000 hires and public administrative institutions offered 84,000 new jobs.

The gains were offset, however, by a drop in the sectors of accommodation and food services, publishing and financing. Employment by local hotels and restaurants fell 22,000 to 2.28 million last month, while publishers and financial institutions reduced their staff numbers by 16,000 each in October.

"The growth pace of the working age population has been slowing down recently because of the low birth rate trend," said Bin Hyun-joon, head of the agency's employment statistics division. "We see the employment rate go up, but the number of people employed falls at the same time."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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