369,000 more jobs filled in 2021

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369,000 more jobs filled in 2021

Visitors looking for job openings on a bulletin board at a job center in Seoul earlier this month. [YONHAP]

Visitors looking for job openings on a bulletin board at a job center in Seoul earlier this month. [YONHAP]

 Total employment reached 27.3 million people in 2021, a 1.4 percent increase compared to 2020, or 369,000 more jobs.  
 
That was the biggest increase in jobs in seven years.  
 
Record-breaking exports helped create jobs, but the Covid-19 pandemic costs jobs in wholesale, retails and the restaurant and hotel businesses.  
 
According to Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of people looking for jobs in 2021 was 1.04 million, 71,000 fewer than in 2020, a 6.4 percent drop.  
 
In 2020, there were 1.1 million people looking for jobs, the largest number of unemployed Koreans in nearly two decades.  
 
The number of people that gave up looking for jobs reached 628,000 in 2021, up 3.8 percent from the previous year.  
 
By industry, jobs in health and welfare increased the most, by 198,000 or 8.5 percent over 2020.  
 
Jobs in logistics and storage rose by 103,000 or 7 percent.  
 
The construction industry saw an increase of 74,000 or 3.7 percent.  
 
But in wholesale and retail, jobs shrunk by150,000 or 4.3 percent.  
 
In restaurants and hotels, there were 47,000 fewer jobs, down 2.2 percent.  
 
The impact of Covid-19 on self-employed people, mainly owners of small restaurants and coffee shops, was somewhat less than in 2020.  
 
In 2021, there were 65,000 fewer self-employed businesses with employees, a 4.7 percent drop, while there were 47,000 more self-employed businesses without employees, up 1.1 percent.  
 
That indicates that store owners had to let employees go.  
 
Daily laborers fell 96,000 in 2021, or by 7.3 percent.  

 
This was in contrast to salaried employees and contract employees, which grew 2.5 percent and 3.4 percent respectively compared to 2020.  
 
Manufacturing, which accounts for 16 percent of Korea's jobs, say a 0.2 percent year-on-year decline, or 8,000 fewer.  
 
That was better than in 2020, when 53,000 jobs were lost, or 1.2 percent.
 
Manufacturing was helped by record-breaking exports.  
 
In 2021, exports increased 26 percent year-on-year to reach $644.5 billion, breaking the previous record set in 2018.  
 
Young people and elderly continued to lead in finding jobs.  
 
There were 115,000 more jobs for people between the ages of 15 and 29, up 3 percent, and 330,000 more for people or older, up 6,5 percent.  
 
For people in their 30s and 40s, jobs became scarcer.  
 
There were 107,000 fewer people in their 30s with jobs last year, down nearly 2 percent. There were 35,000 fewer jobs for people in their 40s, down 0.6 percent.  
 
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki on Thursday emphasized the positive news in the report and stressed that jobs increased in the private sector.  
 
“Last year there were 370,000 more jobs, which is 100.2 percent of the pre-Covid-19 figure,” Hong said. “The job recovery was led by the private sector with jobs in manufacturing increasing for two consecutive months.”  
 
 
 

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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