The number of low-paid people hired by South Korea's public and governmental organizations rose at the fastest pace in five years in the first half of this year amid sluggish employment conditions, government data showed Sunday.
In public administration, defense and social welfare, 387,000 employees were paid less than 2 million won (US$1,800) per month during the January-June period, up 45,000 from a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea.
The on-year increase was the largest since 2013, when Statistics Korea started to compile related data.
The number of those who received more than 2 million won a month in the same fields rose 37,000 over the cited period.
At the same time, public organizations employed 252,000 manual workers, including janitors, in the first six months of this year, up a record 32,000 from a year earlier.
Moreover, the number of temporary workers or part-timers in the public sector rose by an all-time high of 53,000 on-year over the six-month period.
Experts said that increased employment by public institutions has partly contributed to easing the country's job market, which has been squeezed largely by an economic downturn. But this did not guarantee the quality of such jobs.
The manufacturing industry, the backbone of Asia's fourth-largest economy, cut 68,000 jobs in the first half, while wholesale and retail businesses and accommodation firms shed 61,000 and 28,000 employees, respectively.
The country's jobless numbers in the third quarter surpassed the 1 million mark for the first time since the fallout from the Asian financial crisis.
The South Korean government has been struggling to turn employment around, even after using the 3.9 trillion-won extra budget mainly for job-creation projects.
Recently, it said it will create 59,000 jobs, including part-time positions at government ministries and agencies. (Yonhap)