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Last year, the annual number of employed people increased the most in seven years. However, due to the uncertainty caused by the spread of COVID-19 and the mutation of Omicron, the number of employed in the wholesale/retail business and face-to-face service industries such as lodging and restaurants decreased. The number of self-employed people with employees also decreased by 65,000 from a year ago.
According to the ‘December 2021 and Annual Employment Trends’ announced by the National Statistical Office on the 12th, the number of employed persons last year stood at 27,273,000, an increase of 369,000 from the previous year. The annual number of employed people dropped by 218,000 in 2020, when the spread of COVID-19 began, and recorded the largest decrease in 22 years since 1998 (-1276,000), but it turned to an increase again last year.
The increase was the largest in seven years since 2014 (598,000 people). The employment rate for those aged 15 and over was 60.5%, up 0.4 percentage points from a year ago. However, the number of wholesale and retail employment plummeted by 150,000 in one year, and the number of employed in the accommodation and restaurant industry (-47,000) also showed a decline for two consecutive years following the previous year. The number of self-employed with employees also decreased by 65,000 and daily workers by 96,000 from a year ago.
Last year, the number of unemployed was 1,037,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the previous year. The unemployment rate was 3.7%, down 0.3 percentage points from a year ago. The economically inactive population decreased by 3,000 to 16.77 million.
The number of employed people in December was 27,298,000, an increase of 773,000 from a year earlier, the largest increase in seven years and ten months since February 2014. Statistics Korea explained, “Last year, there was a recovery in employment due to the base effect of 2020, when the number of employed persons decreased greatly due to the impact of COVID-19, and due to strong exports and digital transformation.”