December 31, 2020 08:35
More than 190,000 young university graduates had given up looking for jobs as of November of this year, up 40 percent on-year.
The coronavirus epidemic has drastically reduced job opportunities and devastated the economy, driving more and more young people to give up altogether.
University graduates accounted for 486,00 out of 2.35 million people who were classified as "economically inactive" in a survey last month, according to Statistics Korea on Monday.
The agency classifies people over 15 in this category if they are neither employed nor looking for work without reasons like childcare, study or illness.
The biggest group among university graduates or 106,000 were in their 20s and 87,000 in their 30s. That means 193,000 people in the most energetic period of their life are doing nothing. Their numbers soared a whopping 40.4 percent compared to 137,000 in November last year.
Among graduates of vocational colleges who were economically inactive, 146,000 were in their 20s and 30s.
Most industries that usually employ large numbers of young people were devastated by the lockdown, from hotels and restaurants to arts establishments, and the sports, leisure and education service industries.
The state-run Korea Development Institute warned that a continuation of this trend could lead to workers suffering long-term declines in wages due to a lack of work experience. It calculates that a one-year delay in finding jobs means they lose eight percent in salary over the next 10 years compared to their peers who managed to find work sooner.
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