July 12, 2018 12:51
Unemployment remains high despite a massive injection of taxpayers' money into job creation.
According to Statistics Korea, the number of employed people last month stood at 27.13 million, up only 106,000 compared to a year ago and far short of the 320,000 targeted by the government.
Last year, the number of jobs increased by 200,000 to 300,000 on-year every month, rising by 335,000 in January of this year. But then job growth plummeted below 200,000 in February and has been struggling ever since.
The government hoped that 200,000 new jobs would have been created last month since there were no heavy monsoon rains that could be detrimental and the comparable figure from last year was fairly low.
But private-sector job growth was virtually non-existent, and the only jobs were created in the public sector and funded by the taxpayer.
Jobs in manufacturing, one of the pillars of Korea's economy, fell by 126,000, while 31,000 jobs were cut in retail and hospitality, which are strongly affected by the minimum-wage hike, down for the seventh straight month. Construction jobs, which increased by 154,000 last year, grew only by 10,000.
The Moon Jae-in administration has pumped in W11 trillion into job creation from last year's supplementary budget and has earmarked an additional W22.8 trillion in spending for this year, only to see disastrous results (US$1=W1,124).
Professor Choi Bae-geun at Konkuk University said, "Using taxpayers' money to create jobs is like using your finger to plug a dike. The government should focus on finding new economic growth engines."
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