S. Korea’s jobless rate drops to 3.4 pct in Sept.

SEJONG-- South Korea's jobless rate dropped slightly last month, with the number of newly employed people rising at the fastest pace in four months, government data showed Wednesday.

The unemployment rate stood at 3.4 percent in September, 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.

The number of employed people reached 26.84 million in September, up 314,000 from a year earlier, marking the largest monthly gain since May, when it was 375,000.

The unemployment rate for young people, aged between 15 and 29, was 9.2 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from a year earlier.

The employment rate advanced 0.3 percentage point to 61.3 percent last month from a year earlier, with the corresponding figure for young people staying at 42.6 percent.

The statistics office said a sharp increase in employment by the construction business lent support to the country's total hiring on the back of good weather throughout September.

Nearly 2 million workers were hired by local builders last month, up 108,000 from a year earlier, compared with a monthly 34,000 in August.

"The construction and agriculture sectors are affected largely by weather conditions," said Bin Hyun-joon, head of the agency's employment statistics division. "Builders employed more part-timers for their public works projects."

Retailers and wholesalers also offered an additional 48,000 new jobs in September, while the health care and social welfare sector added 62,000 hires.

The manufacturing sector, the backbone industry that shoulders a fifth of employment in Asia's fourth-largest economy, had 4.5 million workers on its payroll last month, up 20,000 from a year earlier.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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