The number of employment insurance subscribers in the accommodation and food industry, which was hit hard by the spread of COVID-19, turned to an increase for the first time in 20 months. The transportation business also saw an increase in subscribers for the first time in 19 months. Last month, employment insurance subscribers increased in all industries except for public administration, which had been negative since August last year due to the government’s job expansion effect.
According to ‘Labor Market Trends in December 2021 by Employment Administration Statistics’ released by the Ministry of Employment and Labor on the 10th, the number of employment insurance subscribers in the accommodation and food industry was 663,000, an increase of 12,000 (1.8%) from a year ago. The increase in employment insurance subscribers in the lodging and catering industry plummeted from 26,000 in February 2020 to 2,000 in March, and then declined for 19 consecutive months from April of the same year to December of last year. Thanks to the recovery in employment, the number of applicants for new job-seeking benefits in the lodging and catering industry also decreased by 3,000 last month. The transportation industry also turned to an increase for the first time in 19 months. The number of employment insurance subscribers in the transportation industry last month was 644,000, an increase of 8,000 (1.3%) compared to December 2020.
Last month, employment insurance subscribers recorded an increase in all industries except public administration. The total number of employment insurance subscribers stood at 14,512,000, an increase of 432,000 (3.1%) from a year earlier. This is the largest increase since the increase of 485,000 in July last year.
According to the Ministry of Labor, the increase in employment insurance subscribers was attributed to the revitalization of domestic demand and improved consumer sentiment following the step-by-step recovery measures implemented in November last year. In addition, the expansion of employment insurance coverage, such as artists and special employment workers, also had an impact. Kim Young-joong, head of the employment policy department at the Ministry of Labor, explained, “The increase in the number of employment insurance subscribers is higher than that of the employed due to the expansion of the social safety net.” However, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surged last month and quarantine measures were strengthened, the outlook for the employment index to be announced in February is not bright.
The amount of job search benefits paid in December last year was 811.4 billion won, down 15.2% from December 2020. The scale of job search benefits, which exceeded 1 trillion won since the spread of COVID-19, has been maintained for four months since it fell below 1 trillion won in September last year. New applicants for job search benefits decreased 5.5% from the previous year to 102,000, down from the accommodation and food industry (-3,000 people), the construction industry (-2,000 people), and the manufacturing sector (-2,000 people).