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Pandemic taking heavy toll on job market in S. Korea

5 June 2020 11:46

SEJONG. KAZINFORM Lee Tae-in, who completed an engineering degree from a university in February, recently decided to give up searching for a job in the first half of this year in South Korea's worst economy in more than two decades.

So far, he has applied for several midsized machinery manufacturers but failed, Yonhap reports.

«Job openings have stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, I'm afraid I can't find a job this year,» sighed Lee, 26.

The situation in job markets is even less promising in the second quarter of this year, with many economists predicting the pandemic will deal a heavy blow to employment.

The economy shrank 1.4 percent on-quarter in the first quarter of the year, marking the sharpest quarterly contraction since the last three months of 2008.

In April, South Korea suffered its biggest monthly job losses in 21 years as the coronavirus outbreak and containment measures hammered the economy.

The number of employed people in South Korea stood at 26.56 million in April, 476,000 people fewer than a year ago, marking the biggest on-year decline since February 1999.

The labor force participation rate, which refers to the percentage of those who are aged 15 or older and remain in the labor force by either being employed or actively looking for jobs, also fell 1.6 percentage points to 62 percent in April, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

It also marked the sharpest decline since 2000, when the nation's job markets were crippled in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.

The nation's jobless rate fell by 0.2 percentage point on-year to 4.2 percent in April.

Although South Korea's job market is not as severe as in the United States, where a jobless rate stood at some 15 percent, weaker social safety nets make it harder for unemployed people to brace for the first pandemic in the era of globalization.

Economists said the worst has yet to come in the labor marke

Keywords: Coronavirus, Economy, World News,