July 21, 2020 11:20
Employment among Koreans in their 40s, the backbone of the country's economy, has fallen to the lowest level in 21 years.
According to Statistics Korea on Monday, employment among 40-somethings stood at 76.9 percent last month, down 1.6 percentage points compared to the same period of 2019.
This is the lowest for the month of June since 1999, when the figure stood at 75.4 percent in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.
It has fallen from 79.8 percent in 2017, right after President Moon Jae-in took office. Among men it dropped below 90 percent for the first time since 1999.
Those with only a high-school diploma were hit hardest. The number of employed people in that demographic group dwindled by 176,000 on-year to 2.37 million, accounting for most of the 180,000 people in the age group who lost their jobs in June.
The main reason is a slump in manufacturing, where 65,000 jobs were lost in June.
A Statistics Korea staffer said, "Employment among people in their 40s appears to have declined sharply due to deteriorating manufacturing, wholesale and retail market conditions amid the economic slump and export decline caused by the coronavirus epidemic."
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