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Job losses extend into Sept. amid pandemic, unemployment rate rises to 3.6%

SEJONG-- South Korea lost about 392,000 jobs in September, marking a decline in the number of the employed for the seventh consecutive month, as the coronavirus pandemic hammered job markets, data showed Friday.

The country's jobless rate rose by 0.5 percentage point on-year to 3.6 percent in September, with the number of employed people falling to 27.01 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 60.3 percent, down 1.2 percentage points on-year.

The unemployment rate for young adults -- those aged between 15 and 29 -- reached 8.9 percent in September, up 1.6 percentage points on-year.

The coronavirus outbreak has hit temporary workers hard, with the number of those workers plunging by 303,000 in September, the data showed. Jobs for day laborers shed 41,000 over the period.

The total number of unemployed people here reached 1 million in September, up 116,000 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 225,000 jobs last month, and the wholesale and retail sector lost 207,000 jobs.

In contrast, the social welfare sector gained 135,000 jobs in September, and the construction industry added 55,000 jobs.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki held a meeting with top economic policymakers earlier in the day during which they assessed the employment situation.

They expressed worries over a rise in the jobless rate for young adults, but the job market is expected to recover in October, the finance ministry said in a statement.

The number of economically active people decreased 276,000 to 28.01 million, while those inactive expanded by 532,000 to 16.81 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 for an economic crisis. (Yonhap)
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