Corporate hirings dive to 11-year low in Q2, Q3

SEOUL, Local companies’ demand for new employees in the second and third quarters has fallen to the lowest level in 11 years, a government report showed Monday, as the spread of the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh down the job market.
According to the report issued by the Ministry of Employment and Labor, local companies with five or more regular employees have plans to recruit 238,000 new employees from April to September, down 5.1 percent, or 13,000 people, from a year ago.
The planned corporate hirings are the smallest since the first quarter of 2009, when the figure tumbled to 208,000 due to the global financial crisis, the report said, speculating that a large number of companies have decided to suspend or downsize their recruitment plans due to economic uncertainties.
The report was compiled based on a survey of 32,000 sampled companies with five or more regular employees.
In the first quarter of this year, the sampled companies wanted to recruit 793,000 employees, down 3.9 percent, or 32,000, from a year earlier. The number of employees actually hired by them totaled 734,000, down 1.9 percent, or 14,000, on-year.
The significant contraction in the job market may have been affected by negative effects from the spread of COVID-19, such as delayed school openings, closings of private academies, decline in tourist numbers and enforcement of strict social distancing, the report said.
Against such a backdrop, the number of unfilled job openings reached 59,000 in the first quarter, falling 22.7 percent, or 17,000, from a year ago.
The number of corporate vacancies also decreased 5.1 percent, or 12,000, to 223,000 people as of April 1.
Meanwhile, the ministry’s monthly job market indicators showed signs of improvements in July, as the employment shock caused by the coronavirus outbreak appears to have been eased.
The number of employees at domestic businesses employing one or more people reached 18,446,000 as of the last working day of July, falling by 138,000, or 0.7 percent, from the same month of last year, the ministry said.
Corporate employee numbers turned negative in March, when the coronavirus crisis escalated. The on-year decline in the number of employees widened to 365,000 in April but has since shrunk for three months in a row.
The number of employees in the health and social welfare sectors, public administration and science-technology service sectors rose by 99,000, 64,000 and 32,000, respectively, last month.
By contrast, payrolls decreased by 120,000 employees in the lodging and food service industry and 61,000 jobs in the travel and business support service industry, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of manufacturing sector jobs also decreased by 73,000, but the amount of decline diminished for the first time in seven months.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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