S.Korea's job loss hits 22-year high in 2020 over COVID-19

2021-01-13 03:05:16 GMT2021-01-13 11:05:16(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's job loss hit the highest in 22 years last year amid an economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, statistical office data showed Wednesday.

The number of those employed was 26,904,000 in 2020, down 218,000, or 0.8 percent, from the prior year, according to Statistics Korea.

It was the biggest yearly slide in 22 years since 1998, marking the first fall in 11 years since 2009 when the economy was roiled by the global financial crisis.

The employment decline came on the back of the COVID-19 outbreak that discouraged people from outside activity, hitting hard the services industry.

The number of jobs in the wholesale and retail and the eatery and lodging sectors plummeted 160,000 and 159,000 each last year, with the figure for the education services segment skidding 86,000.

Employment in the healthcare and social welfare services, the transport and warehouse, and the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors increased last year.

The number of those who temporarily took a leave of absence was 837,000 in 2020, up 430,000 from the previous year. It was the biggest expansion since relevant data began to be compiled in 1980.

Companies let employees to go on unpaid leave or be laid off amid uncertainty over the pandemic.

The number of regular workers advanced 305,000 last year, but the reading for irregular employees and day laborers, who are vulnerable to job loss, tumbled 313,000 and 101,000 respectively.

Employment among those in their 60s or higher increased 375,000, but the numbers for those in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s all declined last year.

The number of those unemployed was 1,108,000 in 2020, up 45,000 from the prior year.

Jobless rate added 0.2 percentage points from a year earlier to 4.0 percent in 2020, marking the highest since 2001.

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.

Hiring rate for those aged 15 or higher contracted 0.8 percentage points over the year to 60.1 percent in 2020, and the OECD-method employment rate for those aged 15-64 slipped 0.9 percentage points to 65.9 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 economically inactive population, who had no willingness to seek a job and remained unemployed, stood at 16,773,000 in 2020, up 455,000 from a year earlier. It marked the highest increase since 2009.

In December alone, the number of jobs dived 628,000 compared to the same month of 2019.

The employment kept skidding for 10 straight months, with declines of 195,000 in March, 476,000 in April, 392,000 in May, 352,000 in June, 277,000 in July, 274,000 in August, 392,000 in September, 421,000 in October, and 273,000 in November each. Enditem