SEOUL, April 10 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's employment rate posted the highest March figure last month on the year-on-year growth in employment, a government report showed Wednesday.
The number of those employed totaled 26,805,000 in March, up 250,000 from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. The year-on-year increase stayed above 200,000 for the second consecutive month.
Helped by the employment gain, the hiring rate rose 0.2 percentage points over the year to 60.4 percent in March, marking the highest-ever March figure since the statistical office began compiling the data in July 1982.
The employment rate gauges the percentage of working people to the working-age population, or those aged 15 or above. Amid the aging population, it is used as an alternative to show the labor market conditions.
The year-on-year job creation among those aged 60 or higher was 346,000 last month, followed by an expansion of 111,000 for those in their 50s and 52,000 for those in their 20s.
The number of jobs created among those in their 30s and 40s declined 82,000 and 168,000 each amid the reducing number of people of those ages caused by the population aging.
The employment rates among those in their 20s, 50s and 60s or higher increased last month.
The OECD-method hiring rate for those aged 15-64 stood at 66.2 percent in March, up 0.1 percentage point from a year earlier.
By industry, the healthcare and social welfare services industry saw its job creation grow 172,000 in March compared with a year earlier on the government's effort to create jobs.
The number of jobs created by manufacturers declined 108,000 on the lackluster semiconductor industry, stemming from lower product price and weak export.
Job creation in the finance and insurance sector dipped last month, but those in the science and technology services industry and the agricultural sector expanded in the month.
The number of regular workers advanced 423,000 in March from a year earlier, while those for temporary and daily workers retreated 114,000 and 29,000 respectively.
The number of those unemployed came in at 1,197,000 in March, down 60,000 from a year earlier. It was the first fall in nine months.
Jobless rate dipped 0.2 percentage points over the year to 4.3 percent in March. The unemployment rate for those aged 15-29 slumped 0.8 percentage points to 10.8 percent.
The so-called expanded jobless rate, which reflects labor market conditions more accurately, went up 0.4 percentage points to 12.6 percent in the same period.
The official unemployment rate refers to those who are immediately available for work but fail to get a job for the past four weeks despite efforts to actively seek a job.
The expanded jobless rate adds those who are discouraged from searching a job, those who work part-time against their will to work full-time, and those who prepare to get a job after college graduation to the official jobless rate.
The number of economically inactive population increased 119,000 over the year to 16,408,000 in March on a sharp growth in the so-called "take-a-rest" group.
The "take-a-rest" group jumped 183,000 from a year earlier to 2,000,000 in March. The group refers to those who replied that they took a rest during a job survey period. It is an important figure as the group can include those who are unemployed and too discouraged to search for work for an extended period of time.
Discouraged workers, who gave up efforts to seek a job because of the worsened labor market conditions, increased 63,000 over the year to 538,000 in March.