January 19, 2021 08:52
Youth unemployment officially stands at nine percent but in fact more than a quarter of young Koreans are out of work.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance said last week, "A declining population of young people and cutbacks in new hires by businesses due to the coronavirus epidemic had an impact." But those factors alone cannot explain the crisis.
The number of employed people between 15 and 29 declined by 183,000 last year, which far outstripped the population decline in that age group, which was only 149,000.
The previous year, the population of young people declined by 88,000 but the number of employed young people actually increased by 41,000.
Kim Kwang-suk at the Institute for Korean Economy and Industry said, "Businesses already began cutting back on new hires since 2019, long before the epidemic gripped the country the following year."
The job market is expected to remain tough this year. Woo Seok-jin at Myongji University said, "Employers who have become used to running their businesses with a skeleton staff in lockdown are highly likely to keep it that way even when the epidemic ends. And if young workers don't get a chance to gain valuable work experience at the start of their working life, their career will suffer and businesses who need skilled staff will suffer too."
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