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(2nd LD) Job growth extended to 8th month in Oct. amid economic recovery

All News 09:53 November 10, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 6,13,14,18-20)
By Kim Soo-yeon

SEOUL, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported job additions for the eighth straight month in October in the latest sign the country's economic recovery has continued despite the fourth wave of the pandemic, data showed Wednesday.

The number of employed people reached 27.74 million last month, 652,000 more than a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The reading was lower than an on-year increase of 671,000 in September when South Korea reported the largest job additions in more than seven years.

But the country has reported job growth since March as Asia's fourth-largest economy is recovering from the pandemic. It also added more than 600,000 jobs for the second consecutive month in October.

The job recovery has been extended on the back of robust exports and last year's lower base, according to the statistics agency.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the job market improved to almost near pre-pandemic levels last month as job recovery in the private sector has continued.

Jobseekers look at an employment information bulletin board at a job fair in eastern Seoul on Nov. 4, 2021. (Yonhap)

The number of unemployed people came to 788,000 in October, down 241,000 from the previous year, the data showed.

The country's jobless rate fell 0.9 percentage point on-year to 2.8 percent last month. It marked the lowest for any October in eight years.

The unemployment rate for young adults -- those aged between 15 and 29 -- declined 2.7 percentage points on-year to 5.6 percent.

The number of non-economically active people, those who have no willingness to work, declined for the eighth straight month. The number of such people fell 116,000 on-year to 16.6 million last month.

Despite the overall job recovery, employment in in-person segments, such as accommodations and retail, still remains fragile due to the resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

The wholesale and retail sector reported a fall of 113,000 jobs, compared with a decline of 122,000 the previous month. The arts, sports and leisure segment saw jobs decrease 26,000 on-year.

But the accommodation and food service sector reported job growth for the second consecutive month in October on the back of eased rules on private gatherings and the vaccine rollout. Such sectors added 22,000 jobs on-year in October.

The manufacturing sector, a backbone of the country's economy, reported an on-year fall of 13,000 jobs last month, the third straight month of decline.

The number of permanent workers grew 615,000 on-year in October, and that of temporary workers rose 219,000. But jobs for day laborers fell 162,000 on-year.

This file photo, taken Sept. 15, 2021, shows stores with for lease signs at the shopping district of Myeongdong in Seoul. (Yonhap)

South Korea began easing virus curbs in November in its first step of the "living with COVID-19" scheme as 77 percent of its 52 million population have been fully vaccinated.

The government expects relaxed social distancing to help spur private spending in the fourth quarter.

"The gradual return to normal life, improving consumer sentiment and the vaccine rollout will have positive impacts on job situations for November," Jeong Dong-myeong, a senior official at Statistics Korea, told reporters.

"But uncertainty still lingers in light of a spike in virus cases and change in the industrial structure," he added.

South Korea has been grappling with the fourth wave of the pandemic for more than three months. The country reported 2,425 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, raising the total to 385,831.

The Bank of Korea (BOK) forecast the number of employed people to increase 200,000 this year and 240,000 next year.

The BOK expects the Korean economy to grow 4.2 percent this year on the back of robust exports. The finance ministry forecast more upbeat growth of 4.2 percent.

The COVID-19 pandemic pummeled South Korea's job market last year as the number of employed people fell by 220,000, the largest job loss since 1998.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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