SEOUL, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Employment in South Korea improved last month on the government's efforts to create jobs especially for the elderly people, a government report showed Wednesday.
The total number of those employed came to 27,322,000 in May, up 259,000 from a year ago, according to Statistics Korea. It was faster than an increase of 171,000 tallied in April.
The faster growth was credited to the government's projects to offer jobs for the elderly amid the population aging.
The year-over-year employment among those in their 60s or higher increased 354,000 in May, with the readings for those in their 50s and 20s rising 109,000 and 34,000 respectively.
The employment among those in their 30s and 40s shrank 73,000 and 177,000 each amid the ongoing demographic change, in which the population of those ages continued to decline amid the growing number of those in their 50s or higher.
The employment rate for those aged 15 or higher rose 0.2 percentage points over the year to 61.5 percent in May.
The OECD-method hiring rate for those aged 15-64 added 0.1 percentage point to 67.1 percent last month. It was the highest May figure since the statistical office began compiling the relevant data in 1989.
The hiring rate for those in their 60s or higher climbed 1.1 percentage points in May from a year earlier, for those in their 50s and 20s gaining ground. The figure for those in their 40s diminished 0.7 percentage points.
The youth employment rate for those aged 15-29 went up 0.9 percentage points to 43.6 percent in the cited period, keeping an upward trend since June last year.
The employment rate, often used as an alternative to jobless rate, gauges the percentage of working people to the working-age population, or those aged 15 or above.
By industry, job creation in the healthcare and social welfare services sector expanded 124,000 in May from a year earlier. Those in the restaurant and eatery sector and the arts, sports and leisure industry grew 60,000 and 47,000 respectively.
The employment among manufacturers contracted 73,000 in May from a year ago, continuing to fall since May last year. The figure in the finance and insurance sector slipped 46,000 last month.
The number of those unemployed stood at 1,145,000 in May, up 24,000 from a year earlier. The jobless rate came in at 4 percent last month, unchanged from a year ago.
The youth unemployment rate dipped 0.6 percentage points from a year earlier to 9.9 percent in May.
The so-called expanded jobless rate, which reflects labor market conditions more accurately, gained 0.6 percentage points to 12.1 percent in the month.
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 grew 36,000 to 15,992,000 in the cited period.
The so-called "take-a-rest" group was up 203,000 to 1,963,000 in the month. The group refers to those who replied that they took a rest during a job survey period. It is significant as the group can include those who are unemployed and too discouraged to search for work for an extended period of time.
The number of discouraged workers, who gave up efforts to seek a job on the worsening of labor market conditions, grew 72,000 over the year to 538,000 in May.