The unemployment rate in South Korea fell to its lowest level in seven months in July amid an increase in the number of self-employed persons, data released by Statistics Korea showed Thursday.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 3.1 percent in July from 3.2 percent in June and 3.3 percent a year ago, data showed. Economists had forecast an increase to 3.3 percent.
The number of unemployed persons fell to 795,000 in July from 822,000 in June. This was 5 percent lower than a year earlier.
Employment also declined during the month. The number of employed persons totaled 25.106 million, down slightly from 25.117 million in June. This was, however, 1.9 percent higher than last year.
The number of self-employed workers increased marginally during the month to 5.86 million from 5.84 million in the previous month. Meanwhile, the number of regular and temporary employees as well as daily workers recorded declines.
Employment increased in manufacturing as well as in wholesale and retail sectors, data showed.
Earlier in July, the Bank of Korea slashed the economic growth forecast for 2012 to 3 percent from April's forecast of 3.5 percent. In 2013, growth is seen at 3.8 percent compared to 4.2 percent projected earlier. The central bank also scaled back the outlook for both private consumption and exports.
However, central bank Governor Kim Choong-soo had expressed doubt if the economy could hit the growth target of 3 percent this year due to worsening global economic conditions.
by RTT Staff Writer
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