Jobs Dwindle for 6th Month Running

  • By Hong Jun-ki, Ahn Joong-hyeon

    September 10, 2020 13:14

    Employment has fallen for a sixth month running due to the coronavirus crisis.

    The government has created more than 300,000 temporary low-paying jobs per month for the over-60s, but even that is not enough to massage the figures into optimistic territory.

    According to Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the total number of employed workers stood at 20.79 million in August, down 274,000 on-year. Subtract the sinecures for the elderly and the decline is even steeper.

    The economically inactive population, meaning people who for one reason or another are not even looking for work, stood at a staggering 18.68 million in August.

    The figures are particularly alarming for younger workers. New jobs for people in their 20s fell by 130,900, among those in their 30s by a whopping 230,000, and among 40-something by 182,000. It only rose for the over-60s, by 384,000, due to the government program.

    Non-regular workers have borne the brunt of the coronavirus lockdown. While the number of regular workers increased by 282,000 in August, that of temporary staff with contracts for less than a year dropped by 318,000, and those with contracts for less than a month by 78,000.

    People look at a job bulletin board at a job fair in Daejeon on Aug. 17.

    Meanwhile, small businesses with staff dwindled by 172,000 while those with no staff increased by 66,000, suggesting that many mom-and-pop businesses had to let their workers go.

    The data does not yet reflect the impact of the latest lockdown.

    There are other statistical sticking plasters. Prof. Kim Tae-ki of Dankook University said, "The government has raised the retirement age, which means that people in their 60s are still counted as economically active."

    "The government should provide vocational training for the elderly instead of creating mere menial jobs for them as well as working to improve a job market for young people," he added.

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