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(LEAD) Public firms to hire half of new employees in H1: finance minister

All News 13:48 January 13, 2021

(ATTN: RECASTS headline; UPDATES with more details in paras 4-6; CHANGES photos)

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's public institutions plan to hire more than 45 percent of their new employees in the first half as the country seeks to prop up the job market hit hard by the pandemic, the finance minister said Wednesday.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki also said the country will additionally draw up measures to boost the employment of young adults and female workers in the first quarter.

"The country will hire more than 45 percent of new employees at public institutions in the first half and swiftly begin the process to hire around 22,000 interns this month," Hong said at a pan-governmental meeting on the economy.

This photo, taken on Jan. 11, 2021, shows people waiting to apply for emergency employment stabilization funds and unemployment benefits at the employment center of the labor ministry in Seoul as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the job market. (Yonhap)

In an effort to spur job creation in the public sector, the country will also pick about 30,000 civil servants, including police officers, firefighters and diplomats.

The government plans to hire 830,000 people in temporary job posts and 28,000 people in the social services segment in the first quarter.

To prop up the job market, the finance ministry said it will front-load 5.1 trillion won (US$4.66 billion) or 38 percent of this year's budget for job creation in the January-March period.

South Korea's job market remained bleak due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the country reporting the largest job losses in almost 22 years in December last year.

For the whole year of 2020, the country shed the largest number of jobs since 1998, when it was in the midst of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

The pandemic, in particular, dealt a crushing blow to jobs in the face-to-face service segments, including accommodation and food services, and for temporary workers and young adults.

"In light of the pandemic's lingering impact on the job market and the base effect, the labor market is expected to remain sluggish until February," Hong said.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki attends a pan-governmental meeting on emergency economic responses at the government complex building in central Seoul on Jan. 13, 2021. (Yonhap)


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