South Korea Jobless Rate Remains Low in Sign of Resilience


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(Bloomberg) — South Korea’s unemployment rate remained low in October, suggesting the labor market is holding up in the face of rising interest rates.

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The jobless rate stayed unchanged at 2.8%, the statistics office said Wednesday. Economists had expected it to slightly rise to 2.9%. The economy added 677,000 positions from a year earlier.

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The Bank of Korea has been raising its benchmark rate for more than a year to curb inflationary pressure, including two half-point hikes in July and October. Relaxed Covid regulations have helped buffer the impact of the policy tightening, boosting consumption that is central to employment.

A weaker won is emerging as a new threat to the economy, raising the prices of energy and other imports that push up business costs for employers. Coronavirus infections are also creeping back up as winter approaches.

The manufacturing sector saw an increase of 201,000 positions compared to the previous year, according to the statistics office. Restaurants and lodging businesses had 153,000 more jobs, while the retail and wholesale industry lost 60,000 positions in October.

(Updates with a chart and a breakdown of the data)


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