Statistics Korea announced on May 13 that the number of employed people reached 26.56 million in April, down 476,000 from a year earlier. The figure represented the largest monthly on-year drop since February 1999 when the country lost 656,000 jobs.
The employment rate for those aged 15 or older slipped by 1.4 percentage points on-year to 59.4 percent, a 10-year low.
The employment rate for those aged 15 to 64 also dropped by 1.4 percentage points to 65.1 percent in April.
The economically active population totaled 27.73 million, a plunge of 550,000 people on-year. The labor force participation rate stood at 62.0 percent in April, down 1.6 percentage points from a year ago.
The economically inactive population, or people who are capable of working but choose not to seek jobs, came to 16.99 million, up 831,000 on-year.
The country's jobless rate marked 4.2 percent, down 0.2 percentage point year-on-year.
The largest job loss took place in the wholesale & retail trade, accommodation & food sector, which alone lost 334,000 jobs. Job losses in other sectors were 44,000 in manufacturing, 59,000 in construction, and 126,000 in business, personal, public service & others.
Temporary employees bore the brunt of the job market contraction in the wake of the COVID outbreak. In April, 587,000 jobs were lost in this sector.