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Govt. to announce measures to prop up sluggish job market

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki speaks in a press briefing at Sejong Government Complex on January 29, 2019. (Yonhap)
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki speaks in a press briefing at Sejong Government Complex on January 29, 2019. (Yonhap)

With the real economy facing the full impact of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the South Korean government is rolling up its sleeves to boost the nation’s job market.

At a meeting with economy-related ministers, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Friday that the government would roll out a set of support measures for the job market next week.

“The government will announce a package of measures to stabilize employment in South Korea after talking closely with related ministries and agencies,” said the finance minister, adding that the measures would include job creation, assistance for working-class people hit by the ongoing pandemic and support for the unemployed.

“The government will keep making efforts to get the services sector on track to minimize the negative impact on the real economy by supporting businesses while protecting jobs and people’s lives,” he said.

Data released the same day by state-run Statistics Korea showed that the number of employees in March stood at 26.6 million, down 195,000, or 0.7 percent, from the same month last year. It was the largest on-year drop since 2009, when some 240,000 jobs were lost.

The number of people who were temporarily laid off reached 1.6 million last month, up 1.3 million, or 364 percent, on-year. The on-year increase was a record high since relevant data began to be compiled in July 1983.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed people came in at 1.2 million, down 17,000 from last year, and the unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage point on-year to 4.2 percent. The falling unemployment rate does not indicate an improvement in the job market, according to officials, as it excludes people who tried to find work but gave up looking.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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