Korean Economy News
Korea’s jobless rate and count for June worst on record as virus crisis extends

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South Korea showed the worst joblessness for June since 1999 when the country suffered massive layoffs in return for an international bailout after the Asian financial crisis to underscore the gravity of ruins from COVID-19 spread.

In June, the number of employed totaled 27.06 million, down 352,000 compared to the same month a year earlier, the Statistics Korea data showed Wednesday. This is the fourth straight month payroll number has fallen big since the virus outbreak -195,000 jobs in March, 476,000 in April, and 392,000 in May.

The last time the country’s job loss extended for this long was in October 2009-January 2010 when the economy was still reeling from the global financial crisis. On Wednesday, the country`s main bourse Kospi ended at 2,201.88, up 0.84 percent from the previous session.

As a result, the number of Koreans out of job in June reached 1.2 million, up 910,000 from a year ago period, pushing the jobless rate to 4.3 percent, up 0.3 percentage point from the same month a year earlier. Both the rate and number of jobless are the highest for the month of June since the statistics bureau started tracking the data in 1999.

Youth jobless rate hit 10.7 percent, also the highest June record since 1999.

The real unemployment rate, which includes underemployed, marginally attached, and discouraged workers, was 13.9 percent, up 2.0 percentage points from a year earlier and the highest since 2015. The rate for youth was 26.8 percent, 2.2 percentage points higher than a year earlier.

The COVID-19 hit all industries and particularly harsh on sectors that require face-to-face interactions, said Jung Dong-myoung, Statistics Korea’s social data division director.

Restaurant and hospitality sector cut 186,000 jobs, retail/wholesale 176,000 jobs, education service 89,000 jobs, and manufacturing 65,000.

Meanwhile, health and social welfare sector added 164,000 jobs as public hires rose to combat the virus crisis. Agricultural and fishery industries also added 520,000 jobs and logistics/storage sector 50,000 jobs amid the surge in cooking at home and delivery demand.

Jobs were lost at all age groups except those aged 60 or older. The number of employed youth aged 15 to 29 fell by 170,000, while the prime workforce groups in their 30s and 40s lost 195,000 jobs and 180,000 jobs, respectively. Hiring of those aged 60 or older increased by 338,000, as the government resumed the job hiring program for seniors.

The number of temporary workers decreased by 408,000 and day-to-day workers 86,000, while that of full-time workers expanded by 349,000. The tally of self-employed with hires fell by 173,000, while that of self-employed with no paid hires gained 18,000.

Total of 729,000 workers were on temporary leave in June, up 360,000 from a year earlier. The figure is slightly down compared to the previous three months when the monthly totals had exceeded 1 million.

The overall employment rate for those aged 15 years or older fell 1.2 percentage points to 60.4 percent compared against a year ago. It is the worst June record since 2010.

The employment rate of Koreans aged 15 to 64 – the standard of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – was down 1.3 percentage points on year to 65.9 percent in June, the lowest for the month since 2014.

The economically active population totaled 28.28 million in June, down 262,000 from a year earlier. It has been falling since March. The economically inactive population – those neither working nor actively seeking employment gained 542,000 to 16.49 million, the highest for June since data tracking began in 2003. The number of people who have given up finding work reached 538,000, up 24,000 from a year earlier.

By Cho Jeehyun

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]

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