The Korea Herald


S. Korea to add 1.56 million new jobs in public sector

Govt. vows to lead job creation, hoping to boost private sector

By Bae Hyunjung

Published : May 14, 2020 - 17:22

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Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki. (Yonhap) Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s government aims to create 1.56 million jobs mostly in the public sector, hoping it will eventually trigger the private sector to follow suit and hire more, according to the nation’s fiscal chief Thursday.

“The ongoing pandemic has triggered not only immediate job losses but also long-term quantitative and qualitative shocks to the employment market,” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said in an economic policy headquarters meeting held at Seoul Government Complex.

“Responding to such pressing job demands, (the government) will work on creating 1.56 million jobs mostly in the public sector and also enhance the labor safety net.”

As for the previous job creating projects which fell through due to social distancing restrictions, Hong vowed to push them forward by reducing the plausible range of physical contact involved.

“Of the 945,000 jobs that were to be funded by the conventional (job) budget, about 600,000 posts for the elderly and the socially disadvantaged will be converted into untact (no-face-to-face contact) or outdoor functions,” he said.

In order to add momentum to these delayed job creating projects, the government will allow maximum administrative flexibility to ease the procedures, he added.

The government will also work on adding 550,000 or more jobs in the public and private sectors combined, including 150,000 untact functions and 300,000 for the socially disadvantaged. For small and medium-sized companies, the government will provide subsidies to hire some 50,000 people.

The stalled hiring process for public servants and public institutions will be resumed starting this month, to add some 48,000 new jobs in the public sector. As of April, the accumulated number of newly added jobs for public functions this year stood at a mere 19,000 as most organizations halted or delayed their examinations or job interviews.

The details of the urgent job creating plans will be confirmed next week with the required budget reflected in the upcoming third supplementary state budget bill, Hong said.

In a separate press briefing, Vice Minister Kim Yong-beom referred to the economy as a “wartime situation,” citing the possibility of another infection wave and the US-China trade tension.

A day earlier, Korea reported the steepest drop in its April employment in more than 20 years.

According to data by Statistics Korea, the number of employed people here stood at 26.56 million in April, down 476,000 from a year earlier and marking the steepest on-year decline since 1999 -- in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.

Also, the trade-dependent economy’s exports sank 46.3 percent on-year during the first 10 days of May, while the daily average volume during the same period slipped 30.2 percent on-year.

By Bae Hyun-jung (