It has been found that the unemployment rate of South Koreans aged 15 to 29 reached 9.2% last month, down 0.2 percentage points from a year ago. The youth unemployment rate has remained high since the beginning of this year. It reached 12.5% in February, 11.8% in March, 10.9% in April, 9.7% in May and 10.3% in June.
A significant problem is that the figures are insufficient to fully reflect what is actually felt and experienced by the youth. The government’s statistics do not include those in that age group and in the state of de facto unemployment at the same time, the number of them being estimated at more than one million. The rate jumps to 25% or so when it takes into account the economically active people who work for less than 36 hours a week and wish to work more, the economically inactive people who are yet to begin to work after job-seeking activities for the past four weeks and the economically inactive people not engaged in such activities for the past four weeks.
The government is wary of the possibility that the current situation could lead to social problems. As is well known, such a high youth unemployment rate is because companies are not in position to hire a number of workers with an economic recession going on and there is a gap between what young job seekers are anticipating and what companies can give them.
“The youth unemployment problem is unlikely to get better within a short period of time because of the structural factors it is related to,” a government official mentioned, adding, “One typical example of the factors is the current situation in which job seekers are focusing only on large corporations while smaller firms have long suffered from the lack of applicants.”