SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea reported the largest job loss in December since 1999 as the new coronavirus outbreak pummeled the job market, data showed Wednesday.

For the whole of 2020, the country also shed the largest number of jobs in 22 years, when the country was in the midst of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, according to Statistics Korea.

The number of employed people reached 26.5 million last month, 628,000 fewer than a year earlier, marking the 10th straight month of job losses, the data showed.

It marked the sharpest on-year fall since February 1999, when the country lost 658,000 jobs in the wake of the Asian financial turmoil.

The country has reported job losses every month since March, when the nation lost about 195,000 jobs, the first on-year job loss since 2009, due to the fallout of the pandemic.

The country’s jobless rate rose 0.7 percentage point on-year to 4.1 percent in December, the data showed.

Last year, the number of employed people came to 26.9 million, 218,000 fewer than the previous year.

It also marked the largest decline since 1998, when the country lost 1.28 million.

The file photo taken on Nov. 11, 2020, shows a citizen looking at job information at an employment arrangement center in Seoul. (Yonhap)