SEOUL: South Korea reported its first on-year job loss since 2009 in March as the coronavirus pandemic began inflicting damage on the job market, data showed on Friday.
The nation lost about 195,000 jobs last month, marking the sharpest monthly decline since May 2009, when it lost some 240,000 jobs, Yonhap News Agency reported citing the data compiled by Statistics Korea as saying.
The unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage point on-year, but the number of employed people fell to 26.6 million in March, according to the data.
The employment rate for young adults -- those aged between 15 and 29 -- also fell 0.8 percentage point on-year to 65.4 per cent last month.
The coronavirus outbreak has hit hard temporary and daily employees, with the number of temporary workers plunging by 420,000 in March, the data showed.
The number of employed people who took a temporary leave surged by 1.23 million to 1.6 million in April, marking the sharpest rise since 1983, when the statistics agency began compiling the data.
The number of employed people who took a temporary leave grew in sectors of education, public health, accommodation and restaurants, the data showed.
March's tumble was attributed to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has dealt a harsh blow to consumer spending and corporate activities, as people have been urged to avoid going out to help curb the spread of the disease, reports the Yonhap News Agency.
By industry, the wholesale and retail sector lost 168,000 jobs, and the accommodation and food service segment saw a decrease of 109,000 jobs last month.
In contrast, the farm and fisheries sector added 134,000 jobs and the health care and social welfare sector gained 82,000 jobs last month.
"The number of employed people sharply fell in sectors which require face-to-face meetings," a Statistics Korea official said.
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki held a meeting with economy-related ministers earlier in the day, and the government plans to unveil measures next week to support the job market.
As of Friday, South Korea has reported 10,635 coronavirus cases with 230 deaths.