SEOUL, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Job growth in South Korea slowed down for two straight months in April, but it kept a stable trend of job creation as seen in the record high of hiring rate, a government report showed Wednesday.
The number of people employed was 25,684,000 in April, up 581, 000 from the same month of last year, according to Statistics Korea.
Job creation in January and February was 705,000 and 835,000 respectively, but it fell to 649,000 in March before reducing further last month.
The monthly employment of some 600,000 was viewed as the continued recovery of labor market in the country, which created 386,000 jobs a month last year.
Hiring rate among those aged 15-64 increased 1 percentage point from a year earlier to 65.4 percent in April, the highest since the data began to be compiled in June 1999. The rate for those aged 15 and over was 60.6 percent last month, the highest since July 2007.
The hiring rate gauges the percentage of working people to the working age population, or those older than 15. It is used as an alternative to the jobless rate for assessing labor market conditions.
The ferry sinking disaster, one of the country's deadliest maritime accidents, had a limited impact on employment last month, but it was expected to influence the upcoming employment data.
The 6,825-ton passenger ferry Sewol capsized and sank off the country's southwestern coast on April 16. More than 300 people have been confirmed dead or missing.
A statistical official told a press briefing that the ferry disaster seemed to have a limited impact as the job survey period was from April 13 to 19, saying that whether to have any influence on the labor market can be confirmed in the May employment result.
The ferry sinking disaster was widely expected to have a negative effect on employment in the tourism, transport and lodging industries as consumers refrained from travel and outings amid the nationwide mourning period.
The South Korean government unveiled measures to boost the hard- lit flames of recovery, frontloading more than 7 billion U.S. dollars in the second quarter.
The service industry led the April job growth, with 531,000 jobs added. Manufacturers employed 96,000 workers last month, keeping an upward trend for 22 straight months. Jobs created in the construction sector shrank 3,000 in April after growing 5,000 the prior month.
Those employed in their 30s reduced 60,000 in April, but other age groups saw employment increase last month.
Jobless rate increased 0.7 percentage point from a year earlier to 3.9 percent in April. Those unemployed were 1,030,000 in April, up 24.9 percent from a year earlier.
The unemployment rate among those aged 15-29 jumped 1.6 percentage points on year to 10 percent in April.
The jobless rate measures the percentage of those unemployed who actively sought jobs in the past four weeks to the economically active population, or the sum of people employed and unemployed.
The economically inactive population, or people aged over 15 minus the economically active population, reduced 2.3 percent from a year earlier to 15,700,000 in April.
Among them, those in housework decreased 3.1 percent on year in March, with those in school for study falling 1.3 percent. The number of job preparers, or those preparing for job-searching, reduced 7.6 percent last month.
People too discouraged to continue their search for jobs grew 211,000 in the cited period. Discouraged workers are those who want to work and available to do so but failed to get a job 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" group, or those who replied that they took a rest during the job survey period, sank 12.1 percent in April from a year earlier. The group is important as it can include those who are unemployed and too discouraged to search for work for a long period of time.