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South Korea’s Unemployment Rate Unexpectedly Edges Up in May

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The unemployment rate increased to 3.8% from 3.7% in the previous month, data from the statistics office showed Wednesday. Analysts had forecast a 3.6% rate. The economy added 619,000 jobs from a year earlier, a third month of gains.

While consumer activity is picking up and exports are surging, the virus’ continued spread has capped the consumption recovery. The job market could receive support if another extra budget is passed to support vulnerable industries. Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki this month said the government was considering a sixth supplementary spending package to shore up businesses amid the pandemic.

A separate report from the central bank on Wednesday showed the economy grew 1.7% in the first quarter from the previous three months, stronger than the initial estimate.

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