SEOUL, Dec. 16 (Yonhap) — The number of employed people in South Korea declined for the ninth straight month in November as the new coronavirus outbreak continued to deal a blow to the job market, data showed Wednesday.

The number of employed people reached 27.2 million last month, 273,000 fewer than a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

But the pace of the decline eased last month from October, when the number of jobs fell by 421,000, the sharpest on-year decline in six months, as softened virus curbs boosted economic activities.

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.

It also marked the longest streak of job losses since the number of employed people declined for the 16th consecutive month in April 1999 due to the fallout of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

The country’s jobless rate rose 0.3 percentage point on-year to 3.4 percent in November, the data showed.’

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

Last month, the employment rate for those aged between 15 and 64 reached 66.3 percent, down 1.1 percentage points from a year earlier.

The unemployment rate for young adults — those aged between 15 and 29 — came to 8.1 percent in November, up 1.1 percentage points from the previous year.

The statistics agency said the pace of job losses in the service sector eased last month, as the country relaxed the social distancing rules to the lowest level in October following a slowdown in new virus cases.

“But the outlook for the job market remains bleak in December, given that the country raised the virus curbs due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases,” Jeong Dong-myeong, a senior Statistics Korea official, said at a press briefing.

On Dec. 8, South Korea raised the social distancing guidelines to Level 2.5, the second highest in its five-tier scheme, in the densely populated greater Seoul area over the third wave of the pandemic.

The daily number of coronavirus cases surged to a fresh high of 1,078 on Wednesday, raising the total caseload to 45,442.

The manufacturing sector, a backbone of the country’s economy, lost 113,000 jobs on-year in November, larger than a fall of 98,000 posts in October.

The accommodation and food service segment reported an on-year fall of 161,000 jobs last month, and the wholesale and retail sector lost 166,000 jobs.

The service segments suffered job losses as people refrained from visiting off-line stores over concerns about virus infections.

But the public administration sector gained 152,000 jobs and the social welfare sector added 114,000 positions.

Temporary workers bore the brunt of the fallout of the virus outbreak the most. Workers with permanent jobs rose by 38,000 on-year in November. But the number of temporary workers declined by 162,000 on-year in November and jobs for day laborers lost 44,000 positions.

The total number of unemployed people here reached 967,000 last month, up 101,000 from the previous year, as almost all age groups, except for those in their 40s, reported a rise in unemployment.

The number of economically active people decreased 172,000 on-year to 28.2 million, while those inactive increased by 431,000 to 16.7 million, the data showed.

In November, the Bank of Korea (BOK) revised up its 2020 estimate of the country’s job loss to 200,000, from its August forecast of a fall of 130,000.’

In the file photo taken Nov. 11, 2020, jobseekers look around booths of a job fair in the Convention and Exhibition Center in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)