South Korea - Labor Force Employment

South Korea: Labor Force Employment

Mnemonic LBE.IKOR
Unit Ths. #, SA
Adjustments Seasonally Adjusted
Monthly 0.92 %
Data Dec 2020 26,759
Nov 2020 27,008

Series Information

Source Statistics Korea
Release Summary of Economically Active Population Survey [Monthly]
Frequency Monthly
Start Date 6/30/1999
End Date 12/31/2020

South Korea: Labor

Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Labor Force Dec 2020 28,043 28,161 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Labor Force Employment Dec 2020 26,759 27,008 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Unemployment Dec 2020 1,284 1,153 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Unemployment Rate Dec 2020 4.6 4.1 %, SA Monthly
Wage & Salaries 2019 896,988 866,864 Bil. KRW Annual
Agriculture Employment 2017 1,363,560 1,359,356 # Annual
Real Wages & Salaries 2017 766,202 734,010 Bil. KRW Annual
Total Employment 2017 21,626,904 21,259,243 # Annual

Release Information

For South Korea, labor force status measures, by sex, for subnational areas, from the Summary of Economically Active Population Survey. Monthly from July 1982.

Survey items

  • Population 15 years old and over, (Ths. #)
  • Economically Active Population, (Ths. #)
  • Employed persons, (Ths. #)
  • Unemployed persons, (Ths. #)
  • Not economically active population, (Ths. #)
  • Participation rate, (%)
  • Unemployment rate, (%)
  • Employment to population ratio, (%)


  • Seasonally adjusted (SA), not seasonally adjusted (NSA)
  • By sex: Male, female, total


  • National
  • Province-level areas


  • Monthly, national, from 1982
  • Monthly, subnational, from 1998
  • Quarterly, national and subnational, from 1989 [DISCONTINUED]
  • Annual, national, from 1963
  • Annual, subnational, from 2000

We obtain data from Korean Statistical Information Service (KOSIS), the official data-management webpage of the Statistics Korea.

Survey coverage

Survey Population: Over 15 years old, who is currently living in Korea (Republic of)(South) during 15th of each month, except people working in military service, also prisoners.

Survey Geographical Coverage: Total 27,011 number of Sample survey municipality area. It composes 26,505 number of municipality which accounts10% of total population 2005 survey, plus 506 number of newly established apartments which accounts 10% of new apartment developments.

Survey Sample Selection: Composing 5 number of households as one area bundle, randomly select one area bundle and select 4 neighboring area bundles as a sample selection.

Data collection

Every month with additional survey on March, May and August. Survey on Household.

The data are obtained from a sample survey, the Economically Active Population Survey, which is conducted by the CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal interviewing), CASI(Computer Assisted Self Interviewing), CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) through the regular interviewers of the Statistics Korea (KOSTAT).

Please note there are exceptions on coverage, persons living in collective households, the armed forces and prisoners are excluded.

International standard employment status

The data are compiled according to the International Labor Organization (ILO) definitions, but some definitions do not exactly align.

  1. Employees = Employees
    • Regular employees
    • Temporary employees
    • Daily workers
  2. Employers = Employers
  3. Own-account workers = Own-account worker
  4. Members of producers' cooperatives
  5. Contributing family works = Unpaid family worker
  6. Not classifiable

No. The data are final when first released.

Data breaks:

  • In July 2012, Sejong City was created in from parts of Chungnam and Chungbuk.
  • In July 1997, Ulsan City (previously part of Gyeongnam) was promoted to Ulsan Metropolitan City.

Statistics Korea reports employment figures for an industry aggregate titled 'S.O.C. and other services [D TO U]'. This aggregate consists of all industries excluding Agriculture, forestry and fishing [A] and Mining & Manufacturing [B,C]