South Korea: Covid-19 caused a job market crisis, the highest unemployment rate in 10 years

The Korean job market has declined for 3 consecutive months since October 2009. (Source: Bloomberg)
The Korean job market has declined for 3 consecutive months since October 2009. (Source: Bloomberg)

The Korea Statistics Office released on June 10 that the country’s unemployment rate in May of this year rose to its highest level in 10 years, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. bad impact on the job market.

The adjusted unemployment rate was 4.5% in May, marking the highest level since January 2010. The number of employed workers decreased by 392,000 to 26.93 million in May and the third consecutive month of decline. This is also the first time Korea has witnessed the job market decline for 3 consecutive months since October 2009, the time of the global financial crisis.

In May, the proportion of young people (aged 15-29) who had a job also dropped by 1.4 percentage points compared to the same period last year to 42.2%. However, compared with the 467,000 jobs that disappeared in April, the biggest drop in more than 21 years, the joblessness in May has eased.

South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the declining exports had begun to affect manufacturing jobs, but wholesale and retail jobs were slowly recovering.

By sector, the wholesale and retail sector lost 189,000 jobs in May, while the food and utilities services saw a drop of 183,000 jobs. In contrast, the labor force in the social welfare sector increased by 131,000 jobs, while the fishery and agriculture sector added 54,000 jobs.

Last week, South Korea proposed a third additional budget of 35,300 billion won ($ 29 billion) to support key industries and protect jobs. Minister Hong called on the National Assembly to quickly pass this budget package to help restore the economy and create jobs.


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