Korea’s Wage Labor Market Shows Growth in the 1st Quarter of 2023 (as of February)

The Korean wage labor market for the 1st quarter of 2023, based on data from February, exhibited positive trends. The total number of wage labor jobs in this period was recorded at 20.2 million, indicating an increase of 457,000 jobs compared to the same period last year.


  • The continuity of employment by the same workforce as the previous year reached 14.162 million jobs (70.1% of the total), while jobs that were replaced due to retirement or job change amounted to 3.444 million jobs (17.0%).
  • Newly created jobs resulting from business establishment or expansion accounted for 2.6 million (12.9%), whereas jobs lost due to business closure or downsizing were 2.143 million.

Breakdown by Industry:

  • In terms of major industries, construction (92,000 jobs), health & social welfare (87,000 jobs), and manufacturing (54,000 jobs) experienced growth compared to the same period last year.
    • Within construction, both specialized construction (79,000 jobs) and comprehensive construction (13,000 jobs) experienced growth.
    • For health & social welfare, growth was observed in social welfare services (54,000 jobs) and health services (33,000 jobs).
  • The manufacturing industry, which holds the largest portion of jobs, witnessed growth in metal processing (10,000 jobs), electronics & communications (9,000 jobs), and electrical equipment (8,000 jobs). However, jobs decreased in the textile industry (-4,000 jobs), rubber & plastics industry (-3,000 jobs), and furniture industry (-2,000 jobs).
    • In subcategories, primary batteries & storage batteries (7,000 jobs), semiconductors (6,000 jobs), and communication & broadcasting equipment (6,000 jobs) showed growth.

Characteristics by Workers and Businesses:

  • By gender, male workers saw an increase of 206,000 jobs, and female workers saw an increase of 252,000 jobs.
  • In terms of age, the workforce for those under 20 years old decreased by 61,000 jobs, while those in their 60s and above increased by 305,000 jobs. Workers in their 50s (141,000 jobs), 30s (38,000 jobs), and 40s (35,000 jobs) also saw increases.
  • In terms of organizational type, corporate companies (351,000 jobs), non-corporate companies (71,000 jobs outside corporations), and government/non-corporate organizations (35,000 jobs) all experienced growth.