South Korea’s Unemployment Rate Remains At 3% In November

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Won Notes
Fifty-thousand-won notes are piled up after being counted at a bank in Seoul.

South Korea’s unemployment rate in November remained unchanged from that in October but grew at a slightly slower pace than expected, moderately raising the optimism that the economy of the country is on the path of recovery.

According to the data released Wednesday by the Korea National Statistical Office, the country’s unemployment rate, which measures the percentage of the total work force that is unemployed and actively seeking employment, rose 3 percent in November, at the same rate as in October and below the analysts’ expectation of 3.1 percent. The economy added 353,000 jobs in November, down from 396,000 in October.

This report comes after it was revealed by the by the Bank of Korea (BoK) that the country’s economic growth slowed to 0.1 percent in the third quarter of this year compared to that in the previous quarter, weighed down by the faltering global economy and the intensifying debt crisis in the euro zone.

The preliminary reading in October showed that South Korea's gross domestic product, which measures the annualized change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced by the economy, was up 0.2 percent in the third quarter of this year compared to that in the second quarter. The economy expanded 0.3 percent in the second quarter while it rose 0.9 percent in the first quarter.

Last month, the BoK announced its decision to keep the policy rate at 2.75 percent. Market participants feel that additional stimulus measures are urgently needed to boost the country's weakening economy.

The central bank has already noted that the growth in the U.S. has lost momentum and that the euro zone economy is contracting, with the weaker exports to the major economies in turn bringing a slower growth in the emerging Asian economy this year.  At the same time, the BoK expects that the economic slowdown will ease and the country’s economy will improve moderately.

In October, the BoK cut the policy rate by 25 basis points to 2.75 percent.  Market players sense that the monetary policy should be loosened again sooner rather than later though the BoK has shown a preference for moving slowly.

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