August 26, 2020 08:31
A slowdown in private spending due to the protracted coronavirus epidemic has made it hard for part-timers to find jobs.
The drastic minimum-wage hike already prompted many store owners to cut down part-timers' hours, and now lockdown has led to more shopkeepers doing without staff altogether.
The latest data from Statistics Korea show a sharp decline in small businesses that employ at least one person by 54 percent or an average of 176,000 per month from January to July compared to the same month in 2019.
At the same time the number of small businesses without staff other than the owner and family increased by 102,000 a month so far this year.
Many small businesses have closed down altogether. The number of self-employed workers dwindled by 138,000 on-year during the first half of this year to 5.47 million, the biggest decline since the first half of 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. That means university students, for example, have trouble earning extra income during the summer holidays. Job search portal Alba polled 2,500 university students, and 83.3 percent said it was difficult to find a summer job.
Many take anything that is available. One person in Busan who is studying for the civil service exam said, "Even for heavy menial work, hundreds of jobseekers compete for every job."
Restaurant jobs pay very little, yet many are grateful to land one of them because they are increasingly scarce. But the government has so far focused on creating more part-time jobs for the elderly but neglected record youth unemployment.
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