S.Korea’s employment keeps falling for 5 months over COVID-19
South Korea’s employment kept falling for the fifth consecutive month as companies led employees to go on an unpaid leave or be laid off amid an economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak, statistical office data showed Wednesday.
The number of those employed totaled 27,106,000 in July, down 277,000 from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. The monthly job losses were 195,000 in March, 476,000 in April, 392,000 in May and 352,000 in June respectively on a yearly basis.
It was the longest employment reduction in about 11 years since 2009 when the global financial crisis hit the world economy. Amid the worry about the COVID-19 pandemic, people refrained from outside activities such as shopping, travelling and eating out, hitting hardest the services industry. The number of jobs in the eatery and lodging sector tumbled 225,000 in July from a year earlier, with employment in the wholesale and retail, and the education services sectors sliding 127,000 and 89,000 each. The pandemic fallout expanded beyond the services industry.
The number of employees in the manufacturing sector slumped 53,000 in July after skidding 65,000 in the previous month. Meanwhile, employment in the health and social welfare, and the transport and warehousing sectors grew 161,000 and 58,000 last month. The number of those who took a leave of absence was 685,000 in July, up 53.7 percent from a year earlier. The number of irregular workers dropped 395,000 in the month, and the reading for day laborers retreating 44,000.
The number of regular workers increased 346,000. Employment among those in their 60s or higher added 379,000 last month, but the numbers for those in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s all declined amid the rapidly aging population. The hiring rate for those aged 15 or higher fell 1.0 percentage point over the year to 60.5 percent in July, marking the lowest July figure in nine years since 2011.
The OECD-method employment rate for those aged 15-64 diminished 1.1 percentage points to 66.0 percent, and the youth hiring rate for those aged 15-29 declined 1.4 percentage points to 42.7 percent. The employment rate gauges the percentage of working people to the working-age population, or those aged 15 or above. Given the aging population, it is used as an alternative to show the labor market conditions more precisely. The number of those unemployed was 1,138,000 in July, up 41,000 from a year earlier. It was the highest July figure since relevant data began to be compiled in 1999.
Unemployment rate added 0.1 percentage point from a year earlier to 4.0 percent in July, posting the highest July reading since 2000. The expanded jobless rate, which reflects labor market conditions more accurately, reached 13.8 percent in July, and the figure for those aged 15-29 came to 25.6 percent. Both are the highest since relevant data began to be compiled in 2015.
The official unemployment rate refers to those who are immediately available for work but fail to get a job for the past four weeks despite efforts to actively seek a job. The expanded jobless rate adds those who are discouraged from searching a job, those who work part-time against their will to work full-time, and those who prepare to get a job after college graduation, to the official jobless rate.
The number of economically inactive population, who had no willingness to seek a job and remained unemployed, was 16,551,000 in July, up 502,000 from a year earlier. The so-called “take-a-rest” group, which replied that they took a rest during a job survey period, expanded 225,000 from a year earlier to 2,319,000 in July.
It is considered important as the group can include those who are unemployed or too discouraged to search for work for an extended period of time.