Record Numbers of People Give up Finding Jobs

  • By Hwang Ji-yoon

    January 25, 2022 11:07

    The number of the "hidden unemployed" who are not counted in unemployment statistics keeps rising as more and more young people kick their job search into the long grass.

    The economically inactive population who are either taking a break or have given up looking for jobs altogether hit an all-time high last year, according to Statistics Korea on Monday.

    Some 628,000 people gave up looking for jobs in 2021, the highest since relevant statistics started in 2014. The number had steadily increased from 533,000 in 2019.

    Also a record 2.4 million took a break from work with no plausible reasons like childcare, studies or illness. Those people are not counted in jobless figures, which only count people who have actively been seeking jobs for the last four weeks from the time when a survey is conducted.


    Prof. Park Yoon-soo of Sookmyung Women's University said, "Even though the employment rate and the rate of participation in economic activities haven't returned to pre-pandemic levels, the unemployment rate fell probably because of an increase in the number of people who have given up altogether."

    Some 1.04 million people were unemployed last year, down 71,000 on-year, resulting in the jobless rate dropping 0.3 percentage points to 32.7 percent.

    The number of the long-term unemployed, who failed to find a job despite more than six months of efforts, stood at 128,000 last year, up 10,000 or 8.1 percent from 2020, the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. Young people in their 20s and 30s took up about a half of the total at 65,000.

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