SEJONG, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) -- The number of college graduates who have given up searching for jobs exceeded 3 million last year, government data showed Monday, indicating that more of them have become "economically inactive."
According to the data provided by Statistics Korea, the number of economically inactive people among those with college degrees came to 3.08 million last year, up 3.2 percent from the previous year's 2.98 million.
The group refers to those who are unemployed and not looking for jobs. They include those who have intentionally given up seeking jobs for child rearing or studying.
Their number stood at 1.59 million in 2000 but has been on a steady rise, with the figure surpassing the 2 million mark for the first time in 2004.
The ratio of the highly educated among the economically inactive population has also been rising. In 1999, the ratio was 10 percent. It rose to 15 percent in 2005 and 18.98 percent last year, the data showed.
The increase in the number of people going to college and the fast-aging population, who stay out of work after retirement, both contribute to the phenomenon, experts said.
In particular, the college entrance rate has jumped over the past few decades, generating more highly educated workers. The rate, which stood at 30 percent in the early 1990s, exceeded 80 percent in 2004, government data showed.