South Korea’s youth unemployment hits 16-year high

Seoul, Feb 18 (IANS) South Korea’s youth unemployment rate rose to a 16-year high in January, the media reported on Thursday

According to Statistics Korea, the unemployment rate for workers aged between 15 and 29 was 9.5 percent last month, up 0.3 percentage point from the same month in 2015. Compared to January figures of the earlier years, the level is the highest since 2000, when the number stood at 11 percent, The Korea Herald reported.

“An increasing number of youth entered the job market during the winter vacation and graduation period,” said Sim Won-bo, head of the agency’s employment statistics division.

“As many preferred a job with a stable employment outlook, the average job-seeking period turned out longer, which attributed to the increase in the unemployment rate,” he said.

The economy added 339,000 new jobs last month compared to the year before, raising the total number of employed people in Korea to 25.4 million. It was the smallest growth in 11 months, but around the same level as the average monthly gain of 337,000 in 2015.

Some 194,000 new jobs were created for workers aged 60 or above and around 115,000 for 50-something workers, compared to just 25,000 for the 15-24 age group.

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