This photo, taken on Feb. 3, 2021, shows people waiting to apply for unemployment benefits at an employment center in western Seoul. (Yonhap)
The employment rates for minor cities and counties in South Korea fell in the six-month period ending in October last year as the job market was hit by the pandemic, data showed Tuesday.
The employment rate for smaller cities in nine provinces came to 59.5 percent in the May-October period, down 1 percentage point from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
The corresponding rate for counties across the nation declined 0.3 percentage point on-year to 67 percent.
The number of employed people in minor cities reached 13 million, 93,000 fewer than a year earlier, while that of the employed in counties declined 29,000 on-year to 2.06 million.
The data that excludes Seoul and seven other major cities showed that the country's job market remained sluggish amid the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country reported the largest job losses since 1998 last year, when the number of employed people fell 218,000 on-year, stung by the pandemic.
The nation has reported job losses every month since March last year, when the number of employed people declined 195,000 on-year.
The service industry suffered heavy job losses throughout last year as people refrained from visiting offline stores over concerns about virus infections. (Yonhap)