SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's job creation may suffer a decline as the new coronavirus pandemic has strained the country's economy and business activities, the country's chief economic policymaker said Thursday.
"There is a possibility that the unemployment may increase among part-time workers or small business owners," Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said during a meeting with economy-related ministers.
"The number of applicants for unemployment allowances is estimated to have increased in March from a year earlier," he added.
The number of applicants for state allowances paid to those unemployed or seeking jobs is estimated to have reached around 150,000 to 160,000 in March, compared with 125,000 posted a year earlier. The finalized data will be released next week.
South Korea's job creations rose by more than 400,000 for the third straight month, but the outbreak of the new coronavirus is dealing a harsh blow to some sectors, such as the retail and wholesale.
Monthly job creations also mostly centered on seniors.
The number of employed people aged 60 and older rose by 570,000 on-year last month. Jobs for those in their 30s edged up 19,000, while 25,000 jobs were lost for 20-somethings in February.
To provide some respite to those who have lost jobs due to the pandemic, South Korea is currently planning to provide shopping coupons and gift certificates to more than half of the country's households.
Households in the bottom 70 percent of gross income will receive the disaster relief aid, which reaches a total of 9.1 trillion won (US$7.45 billion). Seoul will hand in an extra budget proposal to the parliament next week for the payout.
South Korea detected 53 new cases of new COVID-19 infections Tuesday, bringing up the total number of cases to 10,384.
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