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Impact on the Korean job market in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 infections


                                                                                                                    Aug 21, 2020

Lee Jae-gap, minister of employment and labor, projected that the impact on the Korean job market in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 infections would be worse than the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis on August 21.


Minister Lee attended the plenary session of the Environment and Labor Committee of the National Assembly held for the settlement of accounts for fiscal year 2019, and when questioned by Kim Sungwon, a member of the United Future Party, if he thinks that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic would be more detrimental than the Asian Financial Crisis, the minister said that he believes that another wave of COVID-19 would make things more difficult than it was during the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis.


According to the Bank of Korea’s report titled “Measurement and Evaluation of Employment Vulnerabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak” released August 18, one in three people will not be able to continue their normal economic activities if a tight lockdown takes place.


It is reported that the COVID-19 employment shock hits the vulnerable groups, such as low-wage workers, low-educated workers, young people, women, temporary workers and day laborers, harder.


The minister said, "Korea’s labor market was most affected by the pandemic during April, with the employment rate sharply declining. I believe this was reflected in the report (released by the Bank of Korea)," and added, "A number of internal reviews are underway in my ministry to prepare for various scenarios, including one where the social distancing level is raised to Level Three.”


Minister Lee highlighted that it is important to “maintain existing jobs as much as possible, and provide income support through unemployment benefits among other measures for those who are unable to work to the extent possible.”


In response to a comment by Yoon Joon-byeong, a member of Democratic Party, that the ministry should seek a more fundamental measures in preparation for lengthy duration of the COVID-19 crisis, the minister said, "We have started seeking measures as the situation we’re witnessing is unfolding at this moment."


Last Modifide Date   :   Thu October 15, 2020
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