South Korea’s national employment insurance fund is rapidly thinning as the number of people seeking unemployment benefits increases faster than the gain in the number of payroll subscribed to the income coverage scheme for those between jobs.
According to the data released by the Ministry of Employment and Labor on Monday, the number of new applicants for state jobless subsidy reached 212,000 in January, marking the first time that the number exceeded the 200,000 level.
On the other hand, the number of people covered by state employment insurance stood at 13,835,000 last month, up 151,000 from the same month a year ago. It was the smallest gain since February 2004 when the number increased 138,000 on year. The number was even below the on-year gain of 155,000 in May last year when the country was at the height of the first outbreak of Covid-19. The on-year growth had steadily increased since then to reach 394,000 in November last year.
The decline in the number of state employment insurance subscribers is partly driven by the end of the government’s job creation projects at the end of last year.
The Korean government doled out a record high 11.85 trillion won ($10.6 billion) for job seeking allowance last year due to the Covid-19 fallout. Last month, the amount reached 960.2 billion won, keeping its growth momentum for two straight months from December.
By Cho Sung-ho and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]