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Recovery in job market weakened by protracted pandemic: vice finance minister

All News 11:47 November 12, 2020

SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's vice finance minister said Thursday that recovery momentum in the job market appears to be losing steam amid the protracted new coronavirus outbreak, after the country reported the largest job loss in six months in October.

The number of employed people reached 27.09 million last month, 421,000 fewer than a year earlier and marking the sharpest on-year decline since April, according to data from the statistics agency.

"The country has seen the labor market recover somewhat slowly amid the outbreak of sporadic cluster infections here," First Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said at a press briefing.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki earlier anticipated a mild recovery in the job market in October from the previous month as the country relaxed tougher social distancing measures following two months of implementation over a slowdown in COVID-19 cases.

But the October data showed the service sector, hit hard by the pandemic, reported still-large job losses and the manufacturing segment also suffered a decline in employment for the second straight month.

"It is worrisome that recovery momentum in the labor market may have been weakened by the fallout of the protracted COVID-19 pandemic," Kim said.

The finance ministry said the South Korean economy is on track for a recovery, as exports improved and slumps in domestic demand eased amid eased tougher virus curbs.

Asia's fourth-largest economy grew 1.9 percent in the third quarter from three months earlier, after two straight quarters of contractions, according to central bank data.

"But we cannot let down our guard as (there are) concerns that global economic recovery may be delayed amid a global resurgence in COVID-19 cases and border lockdowns by some countries," Kim said.

A job seeker looks at information on job positions at a job center in Seoul. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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