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(2nd LD) Job growth extended to 4th month in June amid economic recovery

All News 09:37 July 14, 2021

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; UPDATES with more details in paras 8-10)
By Kim Soo-yeon

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported job additions for the fourth straight month in June, data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign the job market has improved amid an economic recovery.

The number of employed people reached 27.6 million last month, 582,000 more than a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The June additions were lower than an on-year increase of 619,000 the previous month.

The country has reported job additions since March when 314,000 jobs were added on-year, the first job growth in 13 months. In April, it reported the largest job growth in almost seven years.

In the April 14, 2021, file photo, jobseekers look at an employment information bulletin board at a job arrangement center in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The job market has been on a recovery track due to a lower base effect and the economic recovery, according to the statistics agency.

But the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is widely expected to deal a blow to jobs in sectors providing face-to-face services as the toughest-ever virus curbs will likely dampen domestic demand.

The country on Monday implemented Level 4 social distancing rules, the highest level in its four-tier scheme, in the greater capital area for two weeks in a bid to stem spiking virus cases.

The country's daily virus cases hit yet another fresh high Wednesday with 1,615 new cases, marking the eighth straight day of daily cases topping 1,000.

"The strongest virus curbs are expected to affect employment in the service sector, such as the wholesale and retail segment," Jeong Dong-myeong, a senior official at Statistics Korea, told reporters.

The number of unemployed people came to 1.09 million in June, down 136,000 from a year earlier and marking the third straight month of decline, the data showed.

The country's jobless rate fell 0.5 percentage point on-year to 3.8 percent last month. The unemployment rate for young adults -- those aged between 15 and 29 -- declined 1.8 percentage point on-year to 8.9 percent.

The number of employed young adults grew 209,000 from a year earlier, marking the largest on-year increase since July 2000. Except for people in their 30s, all age groups reported job additions.

The number of non-economically active people, those who have no willingness to work, declined for the fourth straight month. The number of such people fell 154,000 on-year to 16.3 million last month.

Despite overall job growth, the service sector, ravaged by the pandemic, still reported some slumps in employment. But a severe job erosion eased as people increased economic activity.

The wholesale and retail sector reported a fall of 164,000 jobs in June, larger than a decline of 136,000 the previous month. The arts, sports and leisure segment saw jobs decline 43,000 on-year.

But the accommodation and food service segment reported job additions for the third straight month, with an on-year gain of 12,000 jobs last month.

The manufacturing sector, a backbone of the country's economy, reported a decline of 10,000 jobs in June, marking the first job losses in three months.

Last month, the number of permanent workers grew 321,000 on-year, and that of temporary workers rose 360,000. But jobs for day laborers fell 114,000 on-year.

This file photo, taken April 12, 2021, shows jobseekers receiving employment consultation at a job arrangement center in eastern Seoul. (Yonhap)

The finance ministry raised its 2021 growth outlook for the Korean economy to 4.2 percent from its earlier estimate of 3.2 percent. The Bank of Korea (BOK) forecast economic growth of 4 percent.

In May, the BOK forecast the number of employed people to grow 140,000 this year, up from its February estimate of an increase of 80,000. Next year, the number of working people is projected to increase 230,000.

Last year, the number of hired people in South Korea declined by 220,000, the largest number of job losses since 1998.


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