The cold wave of employment from Corona 19 is washing. According to the National Statistical Office’s’December 2020 and Annual Employment Trend’, the number of employees employed per year decreased by 218,000 last year from a year ago. This is the largest decline since 1998, during the financial crisis. The number of employed in December also decreased by 628,000, the worst since February 1999. The number of unemployed persons per year was 1.1 million, the highest since 2000. The unemployment rate is also 4.0%, the highest in 19 years.
Looking at the actual situation of employment, it is terrible. The number of employees per year by age group declined except for those aged 60 or older (an increase of 375,000 people). It clearly shows the insolvency of employment countermeasures that focus on creating short-term jobs such as hopeful work projects by releasing finances. By industry, face-to-face service businesses such as wholesale and retail business (160,000 people), lodging and restaurant business (-159,000 people), and education service business (-86,000 people) were hit directly. Among wage workers, the number of regular workers increased by 305,000, but temporary workers and daily workers decreased by 313,000 and 101,000 respectively. The COVID-19 shock was concentrated on the vulnerable to employment. The future is more grayish. Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki said, “In a situation where the stamina of the job market has deteriorated considerably due to the corona shock, the tough employment situation will continue from January to February, considering the base effect at the beginning of last year.
In the midst of this, the government overwhelmed the regulation that imprisoned companies without even attempting, fueling the sluggish employment. At the end of last year, the government and the ruling party dealt with the 3rd Corporate Regulation Act, including the Commercial Act, Fair Trade Act, and Financial Group Supervision Act. Because of this, it even enacted the Severe Accident Business Penalty Act, where business owners and managers are sentenced to more than one year in prison for the new year. The business community begged to “stop over-legislation so that we can focus on job creation”, but to no avail.
In his New Year’s address, President Moon Jae-in said, “The core of the public economy is jobs,” and “If the Korean version of the New Deal is promoted in earnest, new growth engines and quality jobs will be created.” Whatever the worst employment report card is received, the government’s perception is still easy. Deputy Prime Minister Hong said, “In the first quarter, the public sector will hire 830,000 people, 80% of the planned direct jobs this year, and prepare additional ways to expand jobs for young people and women.” Still obsessed with creating public jobs, it feels frustrating. Jobs are created by companies. Can jobs be created in a situation where anti-business and pro-labor legislation is rushing? The government must boldly change its policy stance to a regulatory reform to inspire businesses. This is the way out of the swamp of employment disaster.
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