As South Korea’s labor market expands amid the nation’s economic recovery out of the pandemic, the government has reportedly highlighted that, in April, the number of workers across the country’s food service sector has rebounded from the year prior.

In September, South Korea recorded job rebounds for the seventh consecutive month, the latest indicator that job recovery has maintained its momentum despite the pandemic's fourth wave. Meanwhile, during the same month, the number of employed individuals reached 27.68 million, adding 671,000 from the previous year and the highest year-over-year increase subsequently after March 2014.

As per reports, in April, there were 1.6 million people working in restaurants and diners, depicting an additional 65,000 increase in numbers compared to the preceding year.

The overall tally of worker numbers has rebounded since October 2020, when the figure dropped by 179,000, a record year-over-year drop.

Nonetheless, the number of people employed in the food service industry remained lower than the pre-pandemic level, showing that the ongoing slump still continues. The number of such workers touched 1.72 million in April 2019.

Data shows, employees within the nation’s food service sector accounted for the biggest share, approximately 5.9% of the overall 27.2 million people hired in April.

The COVID-19 outbreak wreaked havoc on face-to-face service industries; notably hospitality and retail, as individuals abstained from visiting offline establishments in fear of contracting the virus.

As more merchants shuttered storefronts due to non-contact consumption practices, the number of people employed in offline stores fell by 99,000 to 1.75 million.

On the back of growing demands for food as well as parcel delivery services, the number of delivery employees speculatively increased by 53,000 to 423,000 during April. It was the best month in terms of year-over-year growth.

While the industry still has a long way to go before reaching the pre-pandemic levels of employment, it is expected to get there sooner rather than later if this pace continues.

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