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H1 job outlook bleakest for shipbuilding industry

The shipbuilding industry is forecast to lose 27,000 jobs in the first half of this year from a year ago while other major industries are likely to maintain the number of jobs, a report showed on Tuesday.

Construction, automobile, machinary, electronics, semiconductor and finance service and insurance industries, on the other hand, are expected to add a combined 38,000 jobs from a year ago, the joint report by the Korea Employment Information Service and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology showed.

The organizations researched 10 major industries -- eight industries that account for 63 percent of the country’s total exports as of 2015 -- and the finance and insurance industry.

The shipbuilding industry is expected to lose 15 percent of its jobs in the first half of this year from a year ago as restructuring in the sector continues. The amount of new orders this year is also expected to be half of the average annual volume recorded between 2011 and 2015, the report said.

South Korea’s shipbuilding industry has been suffering from overcapacity, slow demand in the global market and fierce competition from China since 2012. The government had unveiled a restructuring plan to downsize and promote higher value-added technologies. The ailing shipbuilding industry already lost 25,000 jobs in the second half of last year compared with the same period a year earlier.

The extended sluggish global demand in the industry and restructuring would continue to hit the sector and, depending on the speed and scale of the restructuring, the industry might lose even more jobs, the report warned.

The number of jobs for the textile, steel and display industries are forecast to decline less than 1 percent.

Among the six industries that is expected to add jobs including machinery, electronics, semiconductor, automobile, construction, finance service and insurance, the construction industry is likely to see the largest increase in jobs at 17,000 jobs or 0.9 percent from a year ago as investment in the sector is expected to grow, the report said.

The auto industry is forecast to add 4,000 jobs or 1.1 percent more from than a year ago despite a decline in sales in the domestic market, the report said.

Jobs in the electronics sector would grow 0.8 percent from a year ago. The sector has suffered negative growth since 2014 but a boost in employment opportunities this year is expected due to an increased demand for electric cars and high-end smartphones, the report said.

The KEIS and KIAT publishes an employment outlook for the 10 industries twice a year based on employment insurance database, a survey on business operators, a survey on economically active population, and opinions of labor experts. 

By Park Ga-young (