(ATTN: UPDATES with comments by officials in paras 4-7)
By Kim Kwang-tae
SEJONG, Sept. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's jobless rate hit a six-year low in August, and job additions increased the most in 29 months, government data showed Wednesday.
The unemployment rate fell 1 percentage point on-year to 3 percent in August from a year earlier, also marking the lowest level for any August since 2013.
The number of employed people reached 27.3 million in August, a rise of 452,000 from the same month in 2018, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
The number of jobs added is the largest since March 2017 due in part to the slowing pace of declines in the number of the employed in the manufacturing sector, said Jeong Dong-wook, director of Statistics Korea's employment statistics division.
The manufacturing sector -- the key backbone of South Korea's economy -- lost 24,000 jobs in August, compared with a decline of 94,000 jobs in July as the automobile and shipbuilding industries are on the recovery following waves of restructuring.
Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said that the improved jobs data is "very encouraging" and that the government will make efforts to ensure that the trend can continue.
The statistics agency said the number of unemployed people stood at 858,000 in August, the lowest level since August 2013, when the comparable figure was 783,000.
The unemployment rate for young adults -- those aged between 15 and 29 -- fell to 7.2 percent last month from 10 percent tallied a year earlier.
By industry, the health and social welfare sectors added 174,000 jobs, and the culture, sports and leisure-related service segment saw an increase of 83,000 jobs last month.
In contrast, the wholesale and retail sector suffered a decline in job offerings by losing 53,000 jobs in August.