[EDITORIALS]Exercise care in creating jobsFinance Minister Kim Jin-pyo has announced that the government will add 80,000 jobs in the public sector to ease unemployment. The government seems to be creating some of the jobs for the sake of offering work to the unemployed. We wonder whether taxpayers should pay for “cultural asset guides” or “etiquette lecturers.”
Unemployment has emerged as the most challenging task for Korean society since the economy is growing, but not creating any jobs. Last year, about 193,000 young adults lost their jobs, and the official number of unemployed, excluding those who have given up on employment and therefore are not part of the unemployment tally, is around 825,000.
In light of the desperation of the unemployed and its toll on our society, we cannot completely rule out government measures to help them find work. Job creation is one financial tool to resuscitate the economy and promote public welfare.
The government, however, should think seriously about expanding its fiscal spending to create jobs that add no productivity. It may provide some help to the unemployed since the jobs would provide an income. But the economy cannot sustain such an action. The pressure on the government to expand its fiscal spending will grow, leading to inflation and more taxes on the public. We only have to refer to the failures that Europe and the United States experienced after they created jobs in the public sector that added no productivity to their economies. Such measures will fail.
The government should bear in mind that the key to creating jobs is to bring the market ― the private sector ― to life. Businesses must enthusiastically increase their investment, and factories should be churning. Then, productivity will rise and value will be created. The government will end up burdening taxpayers if it creates public sector jobs with the sole purpose of alleviating unemployment.
Thus, the government would do well to resist the temptation to create such jobs. Moreover, the need for job creation cannot serve as an excuse to enlarge government organizations or increase the government payroll. Government assistance for vocational training as well as retraining programs should endeavor to meet the ever-changing needs of businesses.