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South Korea's jobless rate hits 5-year high

[SEOUL] South Korea's jobless rate rose to a five-year high in February as more college graduates and cash-strapped retirees flooded the increasingly tight job market, state data showed on Wednesday.

The jobless rate of 4.6 per cent in February - up from 3.8 per cent in January and 4.5 per cent a year ago - was the highest since February 2010, according to the state-run Statistics Korea.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate also rose on month from 3.4 per cent in January to 3.9 per cent in February, when most college students graduate.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate remained the same from a year ago.

"More and more youngsters and those in their 50s sought jobs in February, pushing the jobless rate higher," Statistics Korea said in a statement.

The jobless rate among those aged 25 to 29 stood at 9.1 per cent in February, down from 9.2 per cent in January but far higher than the overall unemployment rate of 4.6 per cent.

The jobless rate for the wider group of those aged 15 to 29 stood at 11.1 per cent - the highest since the government began tallying the youth jobless rate in 1999.

South Korean baby boomers forced to retire in recent years are reportedly flooding the job market, seeking part-time jobs once held mostly by young people.

AFP