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Women suffer greater employment shock than men amid pandemic: report

Economy 12:00 April 22, 2021

SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korean women have suffered employment strains more than men amid the pandemic as job posts in the in-person service segment, hard hit by the virus outbreak, sharply eroded, a report showed Thursday.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to married women in the labor force, compared with previous economic turmoil when married men suffered sharp job losses, according to the report by the Korea Development Institute (KDI).

The number of employed women aged between 25 and 54 declined by 541,000 on-year in March last year, far larger than a fall of 327,000 for men, the report showed.

The report said women have suffered greater difficulties as the in-person service segment, a sector that has a higher proportion of female hiring, was hit hard by the pandemic.

This photo, taken on March 3, 2021, shows a sign about a temporary business closure due to the pandemic that was put up at a store in Seoul's shopping district of Myeongdong. (Yonhap)

The person-to-person service sectors, such as restaurants, hospitality and small retailers, have borne the brunt of the pandemic as people have refrained from visiting shops on concerns about infections amid tougher social distancing rules.

The accommodation and food service segment reported an on-year fall of 159,000 jobs last year, and the wholesale and retail sector lost 160,000 posts, according to the statistics agency. The education service sector also reported a decline of 86,000 jobs in 2020.

For all of 2020, the country shed 218,000 jobs, the most since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

The KDI report also said more working moms had to quit their jobs to take care of children at home as the pandemic prompted schools to delay openings and proceed with online classes.

"Career breaks by women could lead to a permanent loss of human capital. This could sap economic productivity and vitality after the end of the pandemic," the report said.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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