South Korea jobless rate jumps to nine-year peak

South Korea’s unemployment rate jumped to a nine-year high in January as more people shunned low-paying work in the face of rising minimum wages, putting further pressure on the economy and deepening policy frustrations for President Moon Jae-in.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent in January in seasonally adjusted terms, the highest since the 4.7 percent level posted in January 2010, with most of the job losses seen in manufacturing and construction sectors, data from Statistics Korea showed on Wednesday.

Vanishing jobs is hitting Asia’s fourth largest economy at a time when the trade dispute between the United States and China – its two biggest trading partners – threatens to hurt the world’s sixth-largest exporter. Exports declined in January as sales to China shrank for a third month in a row, adding to the strains for South Korea’s manufacturing and services sector jobs.