Korea’s Oct job loss biggest in 6 mos, jobless rate monthly highest in 20 yrs

2020.11.11 11:05:05 | 2020.11.11 14:04:09

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South Korea in October suffered the biggest fall in employment in six months, with the monthly jobless rate at a two-decade high as job losses extended for the eighth straight month amid the protracted pandemic strain on the economy.

Payroll tally totaled 2.71 million in October, down 421,000 from a year earlier in the sharpest on-year drop since April, according to Statistics Korea on Wednesday.

Jobs have been shrinking since March, the longest losing streak since the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2009. The pace of decline slowed in May but started to pick up again in September due to the resurgence of virus cases in the country.

The jobless rate rose 0.7 percentage point on year to 3.7 percent in October, the highest October reading in 20 years.

The employment rate for those aged between 15 and 64, the standard of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), came to 65.9 percent, down 1.4 percentage points from a year earlier. The employment rate for young adults aged 15 to 29 was 42.3 percent, down 2.0 percentage points.

The country’s job counts will continue to be swayed by the number of infection cases, said Statistics Korea.

Manufacturing job losses accelerated in export-reliant businesses due to the fall in exports in October, deepening from the previous month’s loss of 68,000. Exports turned negative in October, down 3.6 percent from a year earlier after a brief growth in the previous month.

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Accommodation and restaurant sectors lost 227,000 jobs, wholesale and retail 188,000 jobs, education service 103,000 jobs and the manufacturing sector 98,000 jobs.

Job loss at accommodation and restaurants stayed flat as social distancing measures eased. Education services and wholesale and retail pared some of the previous month’s losses.

Public administration, defense and social security sectors added 123,000 jobs, public health and social welfare 105,000 jobs and industrial maintenance and support services 62,000 jobs.

Job gains came only from seniors, with 375,000 Koreans aged 60 and older getting employed largely due to government-backed hires.

All other age groups shed jobs, with the 30s losing 240,000 jobs, 20s 210,000 jobs, 40s 192,000 jobs and 50s 114,000 jobs.

Wage and salary workers lost 306,000 jobs and self-employed 115,000 jobs.

Among salary workers, regular employees rose 14,000 while temporary and day-to-day workers fell 261,000 and 59,000, respectively.

By Kim Hyo-jin

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