SEOUL, June 13 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's jobless rate fell to 3. 1 percent last month from a year earlier as job creation in the service industry kept its solid growth trend, a government report showed Wednesday.
The unemployment rate stood at 3.1 percent in May, down 0.1 percentage point from the same month of last year, according to Statistics Korea. From a month before, the rate was down 0.4 percentage point.
The jobless rate declined for 12 straight months in May on an on-year basis due to continued job creation in the service sector, the statistical agency said.
The country's unemployment rate gauges the percent of people unemployed who actively sought jobs over the past four weeks to the economically active population, or the sum of people employed and those unemployed.
The number of people unemployed, who failed to land work despite job-hunting efforts, reached 807,000 last month, down 12, 000 from a year earlier.
The jobless rate among those aged between 15 and 29 came in at 8 percent in May, up 0.7 percentage point from a year before, but the rate was down 0.5 percentage point from the previous month.
The total number of people employed grew 472,000 on-year to reach 25.13 million in May, the eight straight month of creating over 400,000 jobs. The figure topped the 25 million mark for the first time after breaching the 24 million mark in May 2010.
The hiring rate, which gauges the percent of the number of working people to working age population, or those aged 15 and over, rose 0.4 percentage point on-year to 60.5 percent in May. The employment rate is an alternative measure to the jobless rate for assessing labor market conditions.
By industry, the wholesale and retail service sector, which drove up the May job growth, created 109,000 jobs last month, with the health and social welfare industry employing 92,000 workers. The education service industry added 88,000 positions, and the science and technology service industry hired 56,000 workers.
In contrast, the job creation in the manufacturing sector contracted 67,000 in May, while the agricultural sector lost 21, 000 jobs.
The number of people employed as a regular worker increased 356, 000 in May from a year before, and the number of temporary workers grew 89,000 over the same period. But the number of workers hired on a daily basis retreated 136,000 last month.
The number of those working less than 36 hours per week reached 3,290,000 in May, up 2.8 percent from a year earlier. Among them, involuntary part-time workers came in at 385,000, up from 355,000 a year before.
The involuntary part-time workers are those who want to work full time and are available to do so, but they are employed part time as their hours are cut back involuntarily or they are unable to find a full time job.
In May, people working less than 18 hours per week came in at 1,081,000 in May, among which those working part time for economic reasons reached 114,000.
The economically inactive population, or the people aged over 15 minus the economically active population, expanded 56,000 on- year to 15,579,000 in May amid growth in people who did not work due to housework and old age.
The number of people who prepare for job-searching contracted 42,000 on-year to 541,000 in May, while the number of people too discouraged to continue their search for job decreased 66,000 to 190,000, posting the on-year contraction for 10 straight months.
Discouraged workers are those who want to work and are available to do so, but they failed to get the jobs due to tough labor market conditions. They are those who looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.
The so-called 'take-a-rest' item, or those who replied that they took a rest during the job survey, reached 1,326,000 in May, down 7.2 percent from a year earlier. The item is important as it can include those who are unemployed and are too discouraged to search for work for a long time.