The Korea Herald


Job losses extend into August amid pandemic, unemployment rate up to 3.1%

By Yonhap

Published : Sept. 9, 2020 - 11:20

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)
SEJONG -- South Korea lost about 274,000 jobs in August, marking a decline in the number of the employed for the sixth consecutive month, as the coronavirus pandemic hammered job markets, data showed Wednesday.

The country's jobless rate rose by 0.1 percentage point on-year to 3.1 percent in August, with the number of employed people falling to 27.08 million, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

It marked the longest fall since the eight months of decline posted in 2009 amid the global financial crisis.

The employment rate for those aged between 15 and 64 reached 65.9 percent, down 1.1 percentage point on-year.

The unemployment rate for young adults -- those aged between 15 and 29 -- reached 7.7 percent in August, up 0.5 percentage point on-year.

Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said the employment situation is expected to further worsen this month, as the nation imposed stricter social distancing rules in mid-August to combat a resurgence of the new coronavirus.

The August job survey was conducted just before stricter distancing rules were imposed, Kim said.

The resurgence is expected to put a "significant burden" on job markets, Kim told a meeting with senior ministry officials.

Separately, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said in a Facebook post that the government will draw up a fourth extra budget this week to provide relief funds to people who lost their jobs and small merchants that suffered from lost income.

The coronavirus outbreak has hit temporary workers hard, with the number of those workers plunging by 318,000 in August, the data showed. Jobs for day laborers shed 78,000 over the period.

The total number of unemployed people here reached 864,000 in August, up 6,000 on-year.

The increase in the number of unemployed people was mostly attributable to those aged 40 and above.

By industry, the accommodation and food service segment saw a decrease of 169,000 jobs last month, and the wholesale and retail sector lost 176,000 jobs.

In contrast, the social welfare sector gained 160,000 jobs in August, and the logistics industry added 56,000 jobs.

The number of economically active people decreased 267,000 to reach 27.94 million, while those inactive expanded by 534,000 to reach 16.86 million, the data showed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been widely considered to have had a full-fledged impact on local job markets over the second half considering the time lag of one to two quarters of an economic crisis. (Yonhap)