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Unemployment rate

COVID-19 pandemic slams Korea’s job market; elderly workers rise

Oct 16, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Hit hard by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, South Korea lost about 392,000 jobs in September, with the number of employed slipping for the seventh consecutive month.

The country's jobless rate rose by 0.5 percentage point to 3.6% in September from a year earlier, Statistics Korea said on Oct. 16. 

The number of employed fell to 27.01 million last month, in a country with a population of 50 million. And the seventh monthly drop marked the longest decline since the eight-month fall posted in August 2009 amid the global financial crisis.

South Korea lost about 392,000 jobs in September, hit hard by the pandemic. 

The unemployment rate for young adults – those aged between 15 and 29 – reached 8.9%, up 1.6 percentage points on year.

The pandemic has been a blow to temporary workers, with their numbers plunging by 303,000 in September. Jobs for day laborers shed 41,000 over the period.

OLDER WORKERS ON THE RISE

The number of workers aged 60 and under fell by 811,000, marking the biggest decline since the outbreak of the coronavirus early this year. Meanwhile, the number of the employed people over 60 increased by 419,000 partly due to the government’s aggressive job creation for older workers.

Following the September jobless data, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki expressed concerns over the employment situation for young adults. But he expects conditions to improve in October.

"It is painful that the job figures for young adults remain particularly weak, and that industries involving face-to-face interaction, such as restaurants and the accommodation sector, are still facing difficulties," he said.

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.

Write to Min-Jun Suh at morandol@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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