South Korea's jobless rate hits one-year high on flood of graduates

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's jobless rate rose to a one-year high last month, as more university graduates flooded onto the market.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 3.4 per cent was the highest since the 3.7 per cent posted in February 2012, and up from 3.2 per cent in January. Unadjusted, the unemployment rate was 4 per cent last month, compared with 3.4 per cent the previous month.

Among those aged 25 to 29, the rate was a relatively high 8 per cent, compared with 6.4 per cent in January, as most graduates start their job searches in February. The seasonally adjusted number of employed people was 24.77 million in February, compared with 24.78 million the previous month.

The numbers came a day before central bank policymakers hold their monthly monetary meeting, which has seen the key interest rate remain unchanged at 2.75 per cent for the past four months.

Many analysts expect the Bank of Korea to cut the rate later this year to boost growth in Asia's fourth-largest economy, which has suffered from sagging export demand.