20s, 30s joblessness in S Korea hits 12-year high

20s, 30s joblessness in S Korea hits 12-year high

The number of unemployed Koreans in their 20s and 30s who have no previous job experience has reached the highest level in more than 12 years, data showed Tuesday.

According to Statistics Korea, the number of totally jobless individuals aged between 20 and 39 came to about 95,000 as of April. As those who had been previously hired were excluded from the tally, the number of collective young jobless people is estimated to far surpass that figure.

Those unemployed in their 20s and 30s with no prior experience numbered 89,000 and 6,000, respectively. The figure of 95,000 was the highest in 147 months after having peaked at 97,000 in January 2003.

The increase in the young generation's unemployment rate could be regarded as a policy failure, as the government was seeking to pull up the youth employment rate to the average of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

While the OECD employment average hovers at 50 per cent, South Korea posted a 39.5 per cent youth employment rate as of March 2014.

Despite improvements in the nation's overall employment in recent years, the youth employment rate has fallen over the past few years.

The overall employment rate climbed from 61.5 per cent in 2000 to 64.5 per cent in 2013.

In contrast, the employment rate of people aged 15 to 29 shrank from 43.4 per cent to 39.5 per cent over the same period, with that of people aged 20 to 24 plunging 10 percentage points to 42 per cent.

The labour market outlook is also negative. According to the Korea Employers Federation, 377 companies with more than 100 employees plan to reduce hiring by 3.6 per cent on average this year compared to the previous year.

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