May 13, 2021 09:37
Employment increased at the fastest rate in six years and eight months last month amid signs that the economy is starting to emerge from the coronavirus doldrums.
Employment had been dropping for 12 straight months since March 2020 but shifted to growth this March.
Statistics Korea said Wednesday that the number of employed people increased by 652,000 on-year to 27.21 million or 60.4 percent. That was the biggest growth since August 2014.
Although employment remains below pre-COVID-19 levels of 60.8 percent in April 2019, the government said a recovery "is becoming more apparent."
Jobs in the hospitality and manufacturing sectors shifted to growth for the first time since the coronavirus epidemic started. Jobs increased by three percent on-year to 2.14 million in hospitality, which was hit hardest by lockdown, while manufacturing jobs edged up 0.2 percent to 4.39 million.
Unemployment fell apace to four percent, down from 4.5 percent in March and 4.2 percent a year ago. Unemployment among people aged 20 to 24, most of whom are students, declined from 12.4 percent to 11.1 percent, but the jobless rate among people aged 25 to 29, the most active jobseekers, rose 1.9 percentage points to 9.5 percent, up for a fourth month in a row.
Unemployment in that age group keeps rising because more graduates enter the job market or re-enter it after giving up for a while.
Kim Kwang-suk at the Institute for Korean Economy and Industry said, "Any signs of an improvement in employment conditions is not being felt by young people."
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