South Korea’s top 500 companies by assets have cut more than 11,000 jobs as the new coronavirus has continued to spread, data showed Wednesday.
Local corporate tracker CEOScore surveyed the number of national pension fund subscriptions among the nation’s 500 largest companies between February and June. The pension fund subscription -- which is mandatory for regular workers -- is often used as a barometer for employment trends here.
The survey showed that the 500 firms’ subscribers to the national pension fund stood at around 1.65 million as of the end of June, down by 11,880 from February.
This is in contrast to the increase of 3,747 during the same period last year, showing the COVID-19 infection that began in February in Korea has affected the job market.
The biggest drop was in the retail industry.
In the sector, 24,294 people newly subscribed to the pension fund during the February-June period, while 26,813 people lost their jobs. Overall, more than 2,500 jobs were slashed.
In other sectors, including construction and building materials, food and beverage, public companies, household goods, services and automobiles and parts, more than 1,000 workers left their workplaces.
By company, national movie theater chain CJ CGV saw the largest drop in the number of employees. More than 2,500 workers there lost their subscriptions to the pension fund during the period.
With a sharp drop in theater audiences amid the pandemic, some theaters were shut down and others reduced screening sessions. In March, the company launched its first voluntary retirement program.
Other retail firms -- Lotte Shopping, Asung Daiso and GS Retail -- saw drops of more than 1,000 pension subscribers each.
Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, Starbucks Coffee Korea, retail firm FRL Korea, LG Innotek and catering company Ourhome also each cut more than 500 jobs.
While most companies’ employment fell, there were 201 companies that saw rises in pension subscribers.
Among them, e-commerce giant Coupang ranked first.
The number of pension subscribers increased by 3,521 during the five months. This is because the company hired large numbers of new staff as deliveries surged due to COVID-19. The number of delivery workers exceeds 10,000 currently from 5,000 at the end of 2019.
Hanwha Solution, which acquired Hanwha Q Cells and Samsung Electronics, also saw a rise of employees by more than 1,000, data showed.
By Shin Ji-hye (firstname.lastname@example.org)