[Photo by Lee Chung-woo]
Unemployment allowance payment in South Korea topped 1 trillion won ($869.6 million) for the fifth month in a row in September when the country was placed under stricter social-distancing rules following the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in mid-August, data showed Monday.
According to data from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, state unemployment allowance reached 1.17 trillion won in September, up 74.5 percent from the same period a year ago.
State unemployment allowance remained above 1 trillion won for the fifth month in a row in September since it exceeded the threshold for the first time in May when the local job market began to feel the pinch from the Covid-19 fallout in full swing.
In September, 99,000 new applications were submitted for the state allowance, up 39.4 percent from the same period a year ago. The number gained 9,000 from August, data showed, reflecting how the resurgence of Covid-19 in Korea in mid-August severely affected industries across the board.
The government gives out the allowance from the employment insurance fund to support job seeking activity by the unemployed. They account for the largest share of state unemployment benefits.
The number of employment insurance subscribers increased on the back of government-led job creation projects.
Last month, a total 14.13 million Koreans were subscribed to employment insurance, up 2.4 percent from the same period last year. It was the highest increase since 376,000 in February. The rise in the number of Koreans subscribed to employment insurance slowed down by 155,000 in May but has picked up speed since June.
Last month, the number of employment insurance subscribers in the service industry reached 9.75 million, up 4 percent from the same period last year. The rise mainly came from the public administration sector including government and regional government jobs that added 181,000 in September.
The labor ministry said that the increase comes as a result of government-led projects to create new jobs to improve the country’s job market severely hit by Covid-19.
On the other hand, the number of employment insurance subscribers in accommodation and restaurant sector dropped 13,000 in September from a year ago, bigger than 5,000 in August after the second wave of Covid-19 resulted in the enhanced social distancing measures that grappled the service industry the most.
In the manufacturing sector, which is the backbone of the country’s industry, the number of employment insurance subscribers reached 3.52 million in September, down 1.4 percent from the same period last year. The number of subscribers has been falling since July.
In the manufacturing sector, the number of subscribers in the electronics and communications sector fell 9,900 in September from a year ago and the automobile sector 9,300, albeit narrowing from August. The number of subscribers in the transportation equipment sector that includes the shipbuilding industry fell 5,200 in September from a year ago.
By age, the number of subscribers aged 60 and older increased 232,000 in September while those in their 50s and 40s 123,000 and 54,000, respectively.
The number of employment insurance subscribers aged 29 and younger fell 22,000 and those in their 30s 50,000, reflecting job-seeking hardship especially among those young people as companies refrain from hiring new workers.
By Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]