[EDITORIALS]The economy needs jobsAccording to the National Statistical Office, the number of employed in July was 22,456,000, a decrease of 78,000 from the previous month. A decline in the number of employed has been sustained for the last four months. Unemployment has been the biggest headache for the Korean economy for quite some time. In July alone, 26,000 more people lost their jobs. The proportion of irregular and temporary workers has grown bigger and the number of jobless among the young generation in their 20s has grown to serious proportions. It takes an average of one year for young people to find their first job and the number of those who give up looking for employment is increasing. The labor market is deteriorating in quantity as well as in quality.
The decline in the number of employed is more serious than the increase in the number of unemployed. The structure of the labor market requires 400,000 new jobs every year. If fewer jobs are created, the number of unemployed will increase. It is for this reason that the government promotes a pump priming policy to keep economic growth above 4 percent. It is a serious problem if the number of jobs declines.
Businesses plan to reduce the number of people they hire and the growth rate this year will be around 3 percent. It is likely that jobs will decline further. If things continue this way, unemployment will be “mass produced,” the economy will lose vitality and social unrest will be created.
The fundamental reason for unemployment is the economic recession, but there is an aspect that aggravates the situation. This includes the political struggle over party reform that puts aside matters related to people’s livelihood, the pro-labor policies that discourage businesses and the egocentric, illegal collective action of the “labor bourgeois,” the labor unions of large business conglomerates. The solution lies in creating new jobs. The manufacturing sector in particular must regain vitality. The government and political parties must concentrate their efforts on this and labor unions must also join hands with others before it is too late.