[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]
South Korea shed nearly 400,000 jobs in September, the biggest loss in five months, while the idled in economically inactive category stretched to the largest-ever for the month due to resurgence and prolongation of Covid-19, data showed Friday.
According to data released by Statistics Korea, the number of employed totaled 27.01 million in September, down 392,000 from the same month a year ago. Jobs have been on a losing streak since the virus outbreak – minus 195,000 in March, 476,000 in April, 392,000 in May, 352,000 in June, 277,000 in July, and 274,000 in August.
Accommodation and restaurant, education service, and wholesale and retail sectors cut most jobs as the resurgence of Covid-19 led to business shutdowns and rigid social restrictions nationwide.
Those aged 60 and older were the only age group to add jobs by 419,000 in September. The employed was 284,000 less among 30s, 198,000 among 20s, 176,000 among 40s, 133,000 among 50s.
By industry, accommodation and restaurant sector lost 225,000 jobs, wholesale and retail 207,000 jobs, and education service sector 151,000 jobs. On the other hand, health service and social welfare service sector added 135,000 jobs in September, public administration, defense, and social security administration 106,000 jobs, and construction sector 55,000 jobs.
Wage and salary workers saw 249,000 fewer jobs in September and self-employed 139,000 less.
Among salary workers, regular employees gained 96,000 jobs while temporary and day-to-day workers shed 303,000 and 41,000 jobs, respectively, data showed.
The employment rate among those aged 15 and older fell 1.2 percentage points to 60.3 percent in September from a year ago – the lowest for the month since 60.2 percent in September, 2012.
The employment rate for those aged 15-64, which is the standard of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), fell 1.4 percentage points to 65.7 percent, also the lowest for the month since 65.9 percent in September, 2014.
The youth employment rate – those aged between 15 and 29 – in particular, fell 1.6 percentage points to 42.1 percent, data showed.
The number of unemployed reached 1 million in September, up 116,000 from a year ago, marking the biggest increase since May. The jobless rate rose 0.5 percentage points to 3.6 percent.
The non-economically active population added 532,000 on year to 16.82 million in September from a year ago. Those categorized as “idle” among the non-economically active population reached 2.41 million, the highest for September since the agency began compiling related data in 2003.
The “discouraged” category jumped in all age groups – 83,000 in 20s, 66,000 in 30s, 50,000 in 40s, 51,000 in 60s and older. The number of individuals that have given up looking for work increased 113,000 to 645,000, data showed.
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki admitted the social restriction measures have affected jobs and predicted job situation to improve from October upon easing.
By Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]