SEOUL ⸺ South Korea’s unemployment rate fell to an eight-month low in April while the number of people employed rose at the sharpest pace in nearly seven years as the economic recovery continues.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate slid to 3.7% last month, versus 3.9% in March and the lowest since August 2020, Statistics Korea data showed.
The number of employed increased by 652,000 from a year earlier, the fastest pace since August 2014 and more than doubling from 314,000 in March.
That comes after President Moon Jae-in on Monday pledged to further boost fiscal spending if needed to increase jobs, while paying more attention to young people and women.
The breakdown of data showed jobs were mostly added in healthcare and social services, construction, and transportation and warehouses, while those at retailers were the hardest hit, losing 182,000 jobs from a year earlier.
But 61,000 people were employed at accommodation facilities and restaurants, marking the first increase since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.
As part of its social distancing measures, South Korea has enforced a ban on gatherings of more than five people and forced most businesses including restaurants to shut by 10 p.m.
President Moon also said policies will focus on making sure the economy, Asia’s fourth-largest, expands more than 4% this year, rebounding from a 1.0% contraction in 2020.
Last year, the government rolled out around 310 trillion won ($276.96 billion) worth of stimulus to boost support for small businesses and households and safeguard jobs.
($1 = 1,119.3000 won)
Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Sam Holmes; Reuters