The number of South Koreans outside the labor force is declining

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The number of people outside the labor force fell 0.6% in August compared to 2020, driven by more people looking to find a job.

“The slight drop comes as more and more people are willing to work amid signs of a labor market recovery,” Statistics Korea said.

People outside the labor force accounted for 37.2% of all South Koreans aged 15 and over, down 0.4 percentage points from the previous year, according to Statistics Korea data. .

Meanwhile, the number of people who are economically inactive, or those unwilling to work, stood at 16.76 million at the end of August, a drop of 106,000 from the previous year.

Of this group of inactive people, 3.99 million want to find a job or settle within a year, up 2.2% from the previous year. The figure represents the largest number since similar data was tracked in 2016.

READ: The pay gap between sectors in South Korea is widening

Statistics Korea data also showed that 870,000 non-economically active people were preparing for employment – also the largest tally on record, according to Yonhap.

South Korea’s total labor force fell from 28.28 million in July to 28.19 million in August before rising to 28.30 million in September, according to Moody’s Analytics.


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