Job losses hit a six-month high on social distancing

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Job losses hit a six-month high on social distancing

A job applicant gets advice at a booth at a job fair held at Coex in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, on Tuesday. [YONHAP]

A job applicant gets advice at a booth at a job fair held at Coex in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, on Tuesday. [YONHAP]

 
Job losses hit a six-month high in October as social distancing regulations kept people at home and away from work and businesses.
 
The government eased its social distancing regulations on Oct. 12.
 
In October, the number employed dropped 421,000 on year. That is the biggest drop since April, when 476,000 positions vanished on year.
 
The job market has been contracting year-on-year for eight months. This hasn’t happened since 2009.
 
The number of people working in restaurants and hotels fell 227,000 on year, down 9.9 percent. In wholesale and retail, the number of positions were down 188,000 people, a 5.2 percent decline.
 
In education services, 103,000 fewer people were employed, a 5.5 percent drop, while in manufacturing, 98,000 fewer people were employed, a 2.2 percent year-on-year drop.
 
This is the biggest decline in manufacturing employment this year since the pandemic started, and it is the largest drop since 111,000 jobs were lost in September 2019.
 
The number of government-funded jobs continued to increase, up 11.3 percent, or 123,000 jobs. The number of health and welfare jobs grew 4.6 percent, with 105,000 positions added.
 
While the number of regular employees last month increased 14,000 compared to a year ago, the number of contract worker positions shrunk 261,000. Day-to-day hires shrunk 59,000.
 
The number of self-employed businesses where the owners work alone increased 90,000 year-on-year. But those with employees shrunk 168,000.
 
The only age group in which jobs were added was the 60-and-over category. Last month, 375,000 jobs were created for the elderly. The rest declined compared to a year ago.
 
For people aged between 15 and 29, the number declined 250,000. Of that group, 210,000, or 84 percent, of those jobs were lost by people in their 20s. In the, 30 to 40 age group, 240,000 fewer were employed, while the drop was 192,000 for people in their 40s.
 
For those in their 50s, 114,000 jobs were lost.
 
One of the biggest concerns is the increasing number of young unemployed people.
 
Last month, an additional 164,000 people were unemployed compared to the same period a year ago. The total number of unemployed last month came to 1.02 million.
 
The statistics agency said an increasing number of young people have fallen into the unemployed category, including those in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
 
With the job market struggling, more than half a million people were added to the number of people that were labeled as economically inactive. There are 16.7 million economically inactive.
 
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki raised concerns in the latest job report.  
 
“We are still in a difficult situation as the number of people employed in October has seen a slightly larger decline than in September,” Hong posted on Facebook. “The government is taking seriously that the difficult job situation due to Covid-19 is continuing for eight consecutive months.”
 
He vowed that the government will continue to push to stabilize the job market and expressed confidence in the economic recovery.  
 
“We will further push our efforts in improving the domestic market and exports so that the recent improvement in the economy would swiftly lead to the recovery of the job market,” Hong said.
 
BY LEE HO-JEONG   [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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