South Korea's jobless rate rose in January from a month earlier, with youth unemployment and the number of "underemployed" further increasing, a South Korean government report said Wednesday.
According to the report by Statistics Korea, the jobless rate stood at 3.8 percent last month, up from 3.4 percent in December and 0.3 percentage point higher than the year before. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate, on the other hand, inched down from 3.5 percent to 3.4 percent.
The number of employed people reached 25.1 million last month, with 347,000 new jobs being created compared with the year before, the report showed. The increase in jobs is the lowest tallied since May of 2013 when numbers rose 265,000. The new job numbers fell from the 422,000 increase reported for December, the first time growth fell to the 300,000 range in seven months.
In the meanwhile, South Korea's import prices continued to fall in January from a year earlier as oil prices showed no sign of rising, central bank data showed Wednesday.
In local currency terms, import prices dropped 19.2 percent on-year last month, quickening from a 13 percent on-year fall in December, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea. It marks the 29th straight month in which import prices posted a decline.
From a month earlier, import prices tumbled 7.3 percent, also accelerating from a 5.1 percent fall in the previous month.
Weakening oil prices have been pushing down import prices. The monthly data showed that the price of Dubai crude oil, South Korea's benchmark, plunged 24 percent on-month to an average of US$45.80 per barrel in January.
Export prices fell 8.5 percent, a pace of decline that nearly doubled from a 4.4 percent drop in the previous month. On a monthly basis, they declined 4.2 percent compared with a 2.6 percent fall in the previous month.