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Employment Rate Increases Simultaneously with Unemployment Rate
Strange Phenomenon
Employment Rate Increases Simultaneously with Unemployment Rate
  • By Cho Jin-young
  • March 19, 2015, 08:30
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The employment and unemployment rates in Korea are increasing at the same time in the economy.

This is because the economically active population that hopes for employment is increasing, but not as many jobs are being created as are needed to support them.

According to the February Employment Trend reported by Statistics Korea on March 18, there are 25.195 million employed people, increasing 376,000 more than a year ago.  

Accordingly, last February’s employment rate was 58.8 percent, up 0.2 percent from a year ago. The gaps of the employment growth rate in the first two months this year are increasing slightly, with 0.2 to 0.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

The problem is that the employment rate improvement is happening together with the increase of the unemployment rate.

In February, the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percent from the same month last year with 4.6 percent. This is the highest figure in five years after reaching 4.9 percent in February 2010.

Normally, when the employment rate rises while the number of employees increase, the unemployment rate drops. However, strangely enough, the employment rate and unemployment rate are increasing at the same time in the current economy. 

This is because job seekers are increasing due to the current recession amid a shortage of jobs.

The employment and unemployment rates started to increase at the same time last year, with the rates rising 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, from the previous year. 

As the national economy suffered difficulties, people who had not been engaged in economic activities started to look for jobs without caring whether or not the job position was regular or temporary. Under the circumstance, people who couldn't get a job, led to the rise of the unemployment rate. 

In particular, the situation was more serious in that the younger workers are the greatest contributors to the increase in unemployment rate. 

As of last February, the unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 29 was 11.1 percent, the highest among the total age groups. It was also the highest figure in 15 years and seven months, since recording 11.5 percent in July 1999. It means that the current employment increase was concentrated on the employment and reemployment of middle-aged and elderly people.