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Job growth continues for 8 months, signaling labor market recovery: data

Chung Dong-myeong, head of the social statistics department at Statistics Korea, gives a presentation on October’s labor market trends at Government Complex Sejong, Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Chung Dong-myeong, head of the social statistics department at Statistics Korea, gives a presentation on October’s labor market trends at Government Complex Sejong, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The number of employed people in South Korea grew for the eighth straight month in October, marking the lowest unemployment rate in eight years and signaling a gradual recovery in the country’s labor market from the effects of the pandemic, data showed Wednesday.

According to the data from Statistics Korea, the number of hired workers surged by 652,000 on-year to 27.7 million, showing a continual increase since March. Unemployment was 2.8 percent, down from 3.7 percent last year -- the lowest level seen since Oct. 2013, when it recorded 2.7 percent.

The number of employed people increased in almost every age group, from people in their 20s to those in their 60s. But for people in their 30s, the number dropped 24,000 from last year.

The health care and social welfare services industries saw 300,000 new employees in the cited period, the highest number on the list. It was followed by 163,000 new employees in transportation and storage, and by 108,000 new employees in education.

Hospitality, the business area that took the hardest hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, is getting back on track as well. The number of workers in hotels and restaurants increased by 22,000 on-year. The industry is starting to benefit from the eased social distancing rules and from the higher vaccination rate, Statistics Korea said.

Experts say the country’s labor market will continue to see a slow but steady recovery.

“Except for the retail and manufacturing sectors, which were already in a downturn before the pandemic started, the job market has almost returned to the pre-pandemic level. ‘Living with COVID-19’ is likely to accelerate the market’s recovery going forward,” said Kim Yu-bin, head of the trend analysis department at the Korea Labor Institute.

By Byun Hye-jin (hyejin2@heraldcorp.com)
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