100,000 Young Koreans Give up Looking for Work

  • By Kim Jung-hoon

    September 15, 2021 08:58

    Close to 100,000 young Koreans have given up looking for work for more than three years.

    According to Statistics Korea on Tuesday, some 278,000 people aged 15 to 29 have been unemployed for the last three years, and 96,000 of them have made no efforts to find a job, be it improving their skills or training, although they are not engaged in any other duties like looking after their kids.

    The NEETs -- not in education, employment or training -- surged 36 percent compared to last year. Some 62,000 of them are men, nearly twice the number of women, and 61,000 are in their mid to late 20s. Some 75,000 only have a high-school diploma.

    If large numbers of working-age people idle at home, it leads to a decrease in labor input and reduces the country's potential economic growth.

    The Korea Economic Research Institute has estimated the economic cost of NEETs at 2.7 percent of Korea's GDP or close to W50 trillion a year (US$1=W1,170).

    Sung Tae-yoon at Yonsei University said, "The increase of NEETs among young people is also attributable to the government's failed policy of drastically hiking the minimum wage, which resulted in a decrease in jobs for young Koreans, and Korea's rigid labor market."

    Another 85,000 young jobseekers say they are preparing for exams related to their prospective jobs, nearly half to become police, firefighters, civilian military staff or other civil service jobs. Only 13,300 are preparing for job interviews in private businesses.

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