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Gov’t launches program to pump up employment

Jan 22,2010
The government yesterday raised its target number of jobs to be created this year by at least 50,000.

To make that happen, tax and financial support will be given to companies and regional governments to create or broker jobs, the government said.

At the inaugural national employment strategy meeting presided over by President Lee Myung-bak, officials said they will promote a “2010 employment recovery project.”

Officials said they will try to create at least 250,000 jobs this year. Previously, the government estimated 200,000 jobs would be created on the back of a forecast of 5 percent economic growth in 2010.

“Despite some signs of improvement in employment data as the economy recovers, real employment conditions remain treacherous,” officials said in a joint press release. “We are placing top priority on job creation this year and will push to help provide jobs in the near term.”

According to the Statistics Korea data released last week, the number of jobs in Korea dropped by 72,000 last year, the steepest decline since the Asian financial crisis more than a decade ago. The same data showed the country posted its second straight month of job losses.

In the 2010 budget passed at the National Assembly last month, the government earmarked 3.6 trillion won ($3.17 billion) for already announced job creation projects, such as the Hope Labor Project, a short-term job provision project in the public sector.

Yesterday, it said new tax benefits and financial support will be provided as incentives for job creation, although the exact sum of the additional employment support package won’t be announced until next month.

Officials said small and midsized companies will be able to enjoy corporate tax deductions according to the number of new jobs created.

Financial support for job training will also get more support. The government said it will cover part of the cost for job seekers to enroll into a job training program. To raise the efficiency of those programs, the government said it will provide low-rate loans to participants.

Private job brokers will also be given financial incentives for creating jobs, the government said. The 81 state-run employment support centers across the country will share job information with private job brokers to help people find employment.

A 300 billion won fund will be also created at regional governments and will be used to create 30,000 jobs in the public sector, such as after-school teachers, the government said. Regional governments creating more jobs will receive financial rewards from the central government.

The government said those measures will help the employment-to-population ratio this year reach 58.7 percent. Initially, its target ratio was 58.5 percent.

The national employment strategy meeting was attended by economics-related ministers, heads of economic research institutes and lawmakers. The group will meet at least once a month for a year.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]



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