Another bleak jobs report for Korea
The number of jobless Koreans pierced through the one million mark last year, reaching one-million 12-thousand, up 36-thousand from the year before.
It's the first time figures have surpassed that mark since new records were compiled at the turn of the century under new standards.
Statistics Korea says the unemployment rate stood at a record-high of 3.7 percent last year, up zero.1 percentage point on-year.
The youth unemployment rate, for those aged 15 to 29, stood at a fresh record of 9.8 percent,… up from 9.2 percent the year before.
"There are two potential reasons for the rising jobless figures,.. especially for young Koreans. One is, the downfall in the manufacturing sector due to the government-led corporate restructuring process, and another is that more people are actively seeking work in hopes of becoming economically active."
Even gains in employment are shrinking, with Korea adding fewer than 3-hundred thousand jobs last year, the first drop under that level since the global finanical crisis.
And such trends of a slowing job market are likely to stay, with some even projecting the annual employment figure and much more will worsen this year.
"The decline in the manufacturing sector is likely to push down employment figures this year, to the mid 2-hundred-thousand range. And the quality of jobs will also decline, as the manufacturing sector has been known to provide regular quality work."
Expert adds that considering the changing demographics of the country, a collective effort to secure jobs both in terms of quantity and quality for all age groups is necessary, as the economically active population will continue to shrink in the future.
This is why the government has made job creation its top priority for the new year, with plans to add more than 60-thousand news jobs in the public sector for young workers.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.