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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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Development Overview
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Employment

Employment expansion in service sector

The employment share of the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries declined dramatically since the early 1960s. Currently, only 7 percent of all workers are in the primary sector (Table 6-4). The employment share of manufacturing rose in the early industrialization period but began to fall after reaching a peak of 28 percent in 1989. Its share is now 16 percent. The number of workers in manufacturing went down from 5.2 million in 1991 to 3.8 million in 2009.


Table 6-4. Employment by sector


The service sector has expanded its employment continuously. The number of workers increased from 2.0 million in 1963 to 16.2 million in 2009, and the employment share rose from 26 to 69 percent. Within the service sector, wholesale and retail trade, along with hotels and restaurants, accounted for about half of the employment in 1980 but one third in 2009. The number of workers in these businesses fell from 6.0 million in 2002 to 5.5 million in 2009, indicating a continuous restructuring in this sector.

Source : SaKong, Il and Koh, Youngsun, 2010. The Korean Economy Six Decades of Growth and Development. Seoul: Korea Development Institute.

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