“The data for August last year was bad, but even taking in the base effect, the job figures are a surprise,” said Park Chong-hoon, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Seoul. “The loss in manufacturing jobs eased, making me question if this is a sign of the economy bottoming out. We’ll have to see forthcoming data.”
Finance Minister Hong Nam-Ki said in a government meeting Wednesday that the August jobs data is “very encouraging and meaningful,” and that the government would put in “all policy efforts” to extend the improvement.
Still, the jobs data for August mask continued weakness in broad hiring. Those aged 60 and above accounted for 391,000 new jobs, while employment declined among the 40-49 age group. The elderly have benefited most from government efforts to create jobs.
Manufacturers shed 24,000 jobs in August, extending more than a year-long decline in employment, although the pace of decline slowed from previous months. The retail and wholesale sector lost 53,000 jobs, while the social services sector added 174,000 jobs.
"Sin consists not in desiring a woman, but in consent to the desire." ~ Peter Abelard