South Korea: Employment in September slides to lowest level in four months

Workers in their 30s have been hit the hardest, with the unemployment rate exceeding 70% for this group.
By: | November 11, 2020

The employment rate in South Korea declined to 60.3% in September, a decline of 1.2% year-on-year, according to government data. 

The figure marks its lowest level in four months since May, when it recorded 60.2%.

In particular, workers in their 30s have been hit the hardest. The employment rate for employees aged between 30 and 39 recorded 74.1%, the lowest rate in over five years since April 2015, at 73.8%. 

The employment rate for workers aged 30 to 39 have consistently outranked or tied with employees aged 50 to 59 since late 2017, but the latter group overtook its younger counterparts in August this year. 

In 2019, temporary workers in the country accounted for 24.4% of all salaried employees, which is the fourth-highest reported by 43 major countries in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). The OECD average for the year was 11.8%. 

Countries that tailed behind South Korea’s ranking for the year include the Netherlands (20.3%), Portugal (20.8%) and Poland (21.8%), showing marginally less reliance on temporary labour. 

READ: South Korean firms continue work-from-home policies

Earlier in April, South Korea’s number of employed workers fell at its fastest rate in more than two decades, as efforts to contain the pandemic shut businesses. Even though its unemployment rate remained unchanged from that of March’s, at 3.8%, the number of employed workers fell to 26.6 million in April, 476,000 fewer than a year earlier. 

The government has since pledged to create over 550,000 jobs in the public sector.