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Data shows more people quitting jobs involuntarily

All Headlines 10:54 June 03, 2018

SEJONG, June 3 (Yonhap) -- Some 327,500 people lost their jobs in the January-April period this year due to staff downsizing by their employers or company financial troubles, up 6.1 percent from the same period last year, government data showed Sunday.

The government tallies this group of people, considered involuntarily unemployed, by counting those who report a loss of company insurance. The total spiked this year after being 304,900 in 2015, 300,900 in 2016 and 308,600 in 2017.

People who left their jobs this year said they did so because of their employer, for instance by being dismissed or recommended for retirement.

Loss of company insurance is commonly used to gauge the labor market since more than 90 percent of the workers in key industries, including manufacturing, are subscribed to it. The number of people leaving due to employer financial troubles suggests that corporate and job market conditions are weakening.

Data shows more people quitting jobs involuntarily - 1

"Restructuring in the shipbuilding and auto industries likely affected the service industry as well," economics professor Lee Sang-min of Hanyang University said. "The consequent reduction in employment has emerged in phases."

Job market figures are being closely tracked as arguments grow over the increased minimum wage. The government argues that the raise will increase workers' incomes, which will lead to more consumption. Employers say higher wages will lead to layoffs because of higher financial burdens.

"The hike in the minimum wage could create more quality jobs in the long run, but it could have the effect of eliminating jobs in the short run," Lee said. "The steep rise in minimum pay could have influenced people losing their jobs due to employer needs."

Prof. Yoon Chang-hyun of University of Seoul urged caution against a slump in the labor market and across all industries. "There are repeated signs of deteriorating employment data," he said. "There is a chance that the conditions may worsen with time in the second or third quarter."
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