[EDITORIALS]No numbers games over jobsThe government is feeling pressure. At a meeting with labor and business representatives on Feb. 10, the government established a social contract to create more jobs. The administration has decided to concentrate its efforts this year on job creation and has been working to do so. This is a promising development. It is also appropriate that the administration is working to establish a business-friendly climate in order to create more jobs. Companies agreed to restrain artificial restructuring, and labor and management agreed to share available jobs.
The government has said it would create 2 million more jobs over the next five years. That, however, gives an impression that the administration is focusing on an empty numbers game. With 5 percent growth annually for the next five years, 1.5 million new jobs will be created, the government calculated. Up to 300,000 more jobs in the service industry and another 300,000 jobs through the sharing of available positions will be made, the government estimated.
And yet, 30,000 jobs disappeared last year, despite the 2 percent growth of our economy. Because of changes in the structure of the economy, growth does not automatically create more jobs. Because of shrinking domestic consumption, the service industry has not provided as many new jobs as expected.
That is why we are skeptical about the government’s calculation methods. Furthermore, the expected 5 percent growth is not feasible without the strong growth of the service industry. It is also hard to predict the effectiveness of the job-sharing movement.
Because the government often talks big about “numbers,” its policy is criticized as an empty promise for the legislative elections. Such exaggeration makes us doubt the seriousness of the government’s policy. Therefore, the public has become rather indifferent about the seriousness of the unemployment crisis.
The new economic deputy prime minister Lee Hun-jai recently asked at the National Assembly, “Should we not do the things that we must do because of the legislative elections?” That is right. But the reality is far more urgent than playing numbers games. The administration must face the cold reality and find a fundamental solution.