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South Korea’s February payroll gains weakest in 2 years amid slowing economy

South Korea’s payroll gains for February were the weakest in two years, as the country’s employment growth slowed for the ninth consecutive month amid a decelerating economy, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The National Statistical Office reported that employment in February was 27.71 million jobs, reflecting an increase of around 312,000 jobs from the previous year. However, excluding those aged 60 and over, the employment rate during the period declined by 101,000.

The year-on-year employment gains for February fell to 411,000, which is the smallest increase since February 2021 that saw an employment rate of 473,000. South Korea’s unemployment rate, on the other hand, fell by 0.3 percentage points to 3.1 percent in February.

The employment slowdown comes amid expectations that the recovery will weaken this year, as the economy slows down. The drop in the employment rate was attributed to the high base effect of the previous year, where the employment rate increased by 1.03 million positions year on year in February 2022, higher than the employment figure in February 2021, which saw 473,000 positions.

The employment situation is expected to remain a challenge for South Korea as it navigates a slowing economy, though the government has pledged to implement measures to support job creation and address the issue.

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