[EDITORIALS]More bad news on jobsThe gloomy prospects of jobs for young Koreans are getting even gloomier. The problem is no longer a temporary job shortage resulting from the economic recession. It has turned into a structural problem of “growth without employment.”
According to the National Statistical Office, the rate of unemployment among young people in November was 8 percent, more than double the overall unemployment rate. The number of jobless youth was put at 394,000, half of the total number of unemployed. In November alone, the number increased by 38,000; on an average day, 1,200 youths found themselves wandering the streets. If those who had the will and ability to work but gave up finding a job out of desperation is added, the unemployment of younger Koreans is even more serious.
Despite that situation, the government has not done much. To create jobs, it should revive capital investment. But it has failed to encourage the business minds of entrepreneurs; nor has it eased regulations or cracked down on militant union activities.
So far, the steps the government has taken were to encourage the employment of interns in industry and to increase the number of newly-recruited civil servants. But the employment of interns, however, is only for a short training period. The interns were again left jobless after the training period was over.
The unemployment of highly qualified manpower will harm the growth potential of the nation and will be a cause of social unrest. Since the foreign exchange crisis in 1997, the employment opportunities for university graduates have been nearly shut off. That was over six years ago; youth employment is becoming a part of our social structure.
To solve the problem, cooperation among the government, business and job-seekers is needed. The government must encourage investment; because the manufacturing sector has less job potential, the service sector, especially knowledge-based industries such as finance and logistics, should be encouraged. Businesses must expand hiring as best they can, and job-seekers should lower their expectations.